Thursday, July 30, 2015

here's to seven years

I know something's up the moment I shut my door. Matt's stretched out on my once-tidy bed like he's having an existential crisis. Piles of books surround him, and I think he's just had a manga binge.

I drop my backpack with way too little care for the laptop inside. "What is the meaning of your face?"

He has no face currently, as it's buried in my Darth Vader pillow. "We're 19 today, aren't we."

I sat on the floor where I could barely see him, just the crown of his head. "Technically, I'm 19--you're either already 19 and have been since March, or you turn 19 tomorrow, depending on which version of you you really are."

"Now that's a trippy thing to say." He picks up my well-loved copy of Noragami. "Weren't you harping on earlier this week about how weird imaginary friends are? Doesn't that strike as a bit funny? I mean, you've had me for...seven years now?"

I shift. "Not many people know how you came into existence, Matthew North. Don't be cheeky. Besides, I don't really think of you as an imaginary friend. More like just a friend--actually, you're kinda a part of me."


"Ewww. That's creepy and sappy at the same time. Double-whammy."

"But I mean it! You were the person I wanted to be, the friend I wanted to have. You were the "person" who allowed me to show the side of me I always wanted to show--the one who got along better with the guys, the one who could cry and wear pink without feeling like a traitor or a fake, the one who was always hurting for something more without knowing why or what. And as immature/crazy as it was for a twelve year old to have an imaginary best friend, I needed that."

He leans his head over the edge, peeking his eyes at me. "Looking back much?"

"I was a depressed kid before I knew what depression was. And you brought me out of that."

"How the heck did I, a fiction of your imagination, pull you out of depression? I mean, have you even read the great ones?"

I hold up a hand. "Listen. You woke me up to what friends should be like. Always there for you, not just when they need to get away with something or when they want to gossip. We talked. About stupid things. About the best things. About life. And when I realized that you were just in my imagination, I figured I needed more people like you in my life. And that I needed to be more like you."

"So I saved you from feeling alone."

"You still are saving me."

"How."

"Three summers ago. I thought I lost everything. I first saw the glimmer of this story--your story. And
I got closer with my now best friend."

Matt smiles. "I like that guy. He's weird."

"Last year. Bed bugs. Celiac disease. Senioritis. College." I swallow. "I broke 50k and fell back in love with you."

"But in a not creepy kinda way, right?"

"This year. Ill as heck. Depressed. Feels alone. Seems like we've come full circle, huh?"

"Sorta." His voice hushes. "I wish you weren't so ill."

"I wish you weren't so sad."

"I've rather chosen to be sad. You can't choose to be not sick. That's not how it works."

"I can't escape it any more than you can."

"Do you ever think..." he trails off and brushes the carpet with two lazy fingers. "Do you ever think you were meant to get sick?"

"All the time," I answer without a beat. "Why?"

"Because...you know. You've lost something you'll never get back. And that makes you understand me a lot more."


There's a pause. The ceiling fan squeaks. Books slide off as I join him on the bed. "I hate being sick," I say, rolling into his side.

"I hate being sad," he replies, wrapping me up in that big brother hug I've missed so badly. "And I wish you wouldn't worry so much."

"Worry?"

"I know you do. You worry about school. You worry about your friends hating you. You are worrying about being ill, and about you should take the drugs for your condition despite the side effects. You worry about him. You worry about if it's right for you to ever have kids--because you're terrified they'll end up just like you. You worry about your major. You worry that you'll end up just like your grandfather. You worry about being too depressed. You worry about being arrogant. You worry about your sister. You worry about losing her. You worry about losing him. You worry that you're never going to play soccer or dance again. You worry about messing up in front of those you admire, but never once in these seven years have you worried about dying." He pulls me in close. "Please, E...if seven years has taught you anything, it's this: let God handle the worrying. It's not your job." His chin rests on the top of my head. I fell the  pull of his stubble against my hair. "You might be a nineteen year old girl in a seventy year old body with an old soul, but you're still just a nineteen year old girl."


By this time, I am barely holding back tears--tears I've held in for seven years straight.

"I forgot you called me E."

He looks down and smiles at me. His eyes, as brown and blurry as mine, twinkle with affection and pride, mixed with concern. "E? As someone's who is near and dear to your heart--actually, who kinda is your heart--I want you to be a nineteen year old without worry. Can you try?"

"...I will try."

He hugs me tighter.


"I'm so glad you came into my life," I whisper. "Even if you're just a character in a story that's kept me going. And I'm so glad I've finally finished that story. You can start being happy again. Finally."

"Here's to seven years, you crazy blogger you. And many more."

I unsquish my arms and return the hug. "Just pray it doesn't take my seven more years to edit the crap out of everything."

An insatiable grin overcame his face as he gazed at me. "You'll do just fine, sweetheart. Just fine."

And I will.


{last night, at 11:39, I wrote the last word of the first draft of the great ones. So this is the close to one amazing adventure and the opening of the next journey. Feel free to throw a little confetti or have a little ice cream in celebration. Also, it's my birthday! Yay! Happy birthday, me! Way to be 19!} 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

{how to live} five things

I like lists. I'm actually going to make a list the moment I finish this blogpost. It's kinda like an addiction.

So this is my gratitude list.

You see, last night was tough. I wasn't in a good emotional place, I felt like I was failing, and I was tired out from having a really really good day (but instead of seeing the good, I just saw how tired I was). I was literally an emotional wreck. It took my parents, my brother, and my dogs (they just wanted to lick me, though) to get me to a place where I could see the fact that yes, I'm sick right now, but I'm on my way to being better. I am trying, and that's what matters.

I saw it coming. Actually, I didn't. Not that day. I thought the gluten and my exhaustion would catch me later in the week, but it happened and I really hope it's out of my system now. My mindset is a little bit different than it was yesterday. And that's a good thing.


This morning, after having a delicious mini-coma (seriously. Have not slept in so late in months), I listened to my favourite podcast. I grew up listening to this radio show, and now I listen to their podcast everywhere I go. I was a little behind, so I listened to Monday's episode. On Monday's, they do Monday School, where they  kind of recap what they heard at church. And they were talking about gratitude.

Sometimes, we take the things around us for granted. Honestly? I do that about every day. We get caught up in the normal that we don't see just how wonderfully blessed we are. And it's sad and stupid, but it's a fact of life. The DJ talked about how it's important to train yourself to be grateful--if you make it a habit, you won't have to think about it. You'll automatically search for the blessings and the good in life. And that's something I need to work on right now.


On the show, they talked about the big things to be grateful for--like your family, your house, your salvation...all those things. Yes, it is so easy to take those things for granted. Yes, we need to thank God everyday for the big things. But it's also important to find joy in the little things. Me and several of my friends have a joke where we say "It's the little things in life" when we're happy over something small, but I'm coming to realize that it's more than just a joke. It really is the little things in life that you should be grateful for--I know I don't thank God enough for the fact that I can still eat dairy, or that I can afford soap for the sole purpose of it making my hair smell nice. And that's why I've made this list. Feel free to make a list of what you're grateful for today in the comments below.


1. Being able to write. I don't mean  this in the sense that I am literate, because I'm always thankful for that, but the fact that I can physically write with a pencil and paper makes me so happy. A few months ago, I could barely hold a fork, let alone take notes. Last night, I ditched the computer and wrote half a chapter's worth old-school. And yeah, my hand was tired, but I did it. And it gives me hope that I won't have to record everything my teachers say when I go back to school. Maybe I'll be able to take notes. That would be incredible.

2. Marianas Trench, or music in general. God bless the person who thought up music. Thank you,
random person. Without you, we wouldn't have twenty one pilots, the classics, worship songs, Nate Reuss, VIXX, or any music at all. Can you imagine how much that would suck? Yesterday, as I drove about and wrote and surfed the internet, my background noise was always Marianas Trench. I don't know why I like them so much, because several of their songs are similar musically, but the sound just makes me happy and want to have a dance party (which is not always a great thing when you're driving...just saying...) Music has a great power in my life, and I'm so grateful that it's around.

3. Texting. Goodness. Being an introvert like me, I live for texting. I do not do phone calls. I can do face-to-face, but I often feel out of my comfort zone and worried about what others think of me. Definitely slid back into social anxiety this year. Gonna work on that. But I'm thankful for texting and messaging and emails, because they keep me connected and let me talk to the people I love. I love letter writing and such, but if we didn't have texting, I don't know what I would do.

4. Air Conditioning. Just right now, it's probably 90 degrees outside and climbing. I've discovered that with all the health stuff I've got going on, I do not do well in heat. It sucks the energy out of me, which is frustrating because I love being outside. But I'm so thankful that we have the ability to pump cold air into our house, because otherwise I would be pretty miserable. Last night, I remember grouching as I laid in bed, unable to sleep, about how cold it was in my room. I should have been thankful that I wasn't sweating like crazy.

5. Sarcasm. What would my life be without this? And not just sarcasm, but humor in a nutshell. Finding the funniness in life is always a goal in my family, and when I make friends, a sense of humor is always something I look for. And I never really thought about how I should be thankful for that. I mean, I have an outlook on life that searches for humor constantly. I can't imagine what it would be like without that. Even when I tell stupid jokes or my sarcasm falls short, I'm still trying to see the hilarious and out of the ordinary in life. Last night, when I was freaking out and emotionally screwy, there were several moments when I was laughing through my tears because of my family and their silliness. Humor can pull you out of dark places. Don't take it for granted.

I am thankful for so much more, but if I wrote all that down, I would have to write a book and since I'm a little occupied in that area right now, I'll save the rest for another day. What are some things you're grateful for? How do you remember to be grateful? Or what is a time when you sat down and said "Huh", because you realized just how blessed you really are?


Hope you guys have a great week!





Saturday, July 25, 2015

week by week #2 // mini-reviews and Nate Reuss

my plan for the next week is to be horizontal and listen to Nate Ruess' sweet voice--if only that cured chronic illness.

it's been a rough week, friends.

I am so tired of quitting and cancelling because of my health....

I feel like I talk about my health and other such things a lot on social media, but I just want you to understand that I am in no way complaining. Most of the time I am looking for support, trying to educate others about my conditions, or relieve a little stress by making myself and others laugh. If it gets annoying, I'm sorry, but this is my life now. And it's probably never going to go away.


I saw my neurologist this week. He said I was normal (neurologically speaking...I spent half of the time spent in that appointment giggling because he kept saying that strange word that really doesn't describe me at all). I saw my general pracitioner. She's really happy that PT is helping me and that I'm stronger than I was six months ago. However, the fact that I'm still in pain made her want to try one more thing--and now we're trying to decide whether it's worth trying a medication with some nasty side effects to make the pain go away. I'd really appreciate prayers while we figure this out. As much as I want to be able to label this issue and get at solving it, I'm not a fan of turning my stomach into a hazardous wasteland due to pills. I take enough as is.

So yeah. That's the heavy side of my week. It hasn't been all bad. I went outside today. I had ice cream and it was amazing. I did some baking--and I'm thinking about baking more, because I'm finding that I really love it. I didn't write as much as I should've, but the gluten has eaten my brain and I don't think it's the wisest to write about the heavy, heartbreaking stuff when I'm on high-risk for a depression episode. Darn you gluten. But I'm determined to finish before I go back to school. I can do this thing!


Books have been a huge thing this week. As I finished all the Teen Wolf I can get my hands on, I'm in that weird between shows phase, and nothing really catches my fancy. So reading it is. Here are three mini-reviews!

  • Finding Audrey, by Sopie Kinsella. This is a story about a girl who struggles with social anxiety (and by struggles, I mean struggles), and her journey towards being a normal person again. In five words: more video games than expected. Like, a lot. I expected this to be a fairly serious book about how social anxiety changes a person, but instead it focused a lot on Audrey's family and how they intereacted--which wasn't bad. It just felt like Audrey's story got left on the side of the road a lot. I didn't connect to Audrey very much, but the descriptions of her anxiety attacks and how she felt in general were spot on. I liked that Linus had a unique name, and surprisingly, I did not find Felix as enchanting as everyone else reported. In fact, the character I liked the most was Frank. Everybody else seemed slightly over the top and crazy. So this book wasn't terrible, but it could've been a lot better, in my humble opinion. Also--did anyone else have issues with the fact that Audrey was 14??? Really?? 3/5
  • Ask the Passengers, by A.S. King. This is actually one of two LBQT books I read by accident this week. I put them on hold because--duh, A.S. King, and Simon and the Homo Sapiens Agenda had a lot of buzz following it--and out of the two, I liked this one a little better. The whole gay/lesbian side of the book was just kinda there, but I loved Astrid. I loved how she thought. I loved how she sent love to the passengers. I loved how she felt invisible and like the ears of the town and still loved--it broke my heart to find out why she loved like she did. Everybody else in the story...eh. I would've totally been okay reading this book and it just being Astrid and her thoughts. And Frank Socrates freaked me out a little, just like Gersday in Reality Boy. What is with this author and her protags having imaginary friends? 4/5
  •  The Impossible Knife of Memory, by Laurie Halse Anderson. Ummmm...first of all, can I just say--beautiful cover. That was the sole reason I picked it off the shelf. I want blue streaks like that. This is a pretty great read about a girl with a broken dad who might just be broken herself, and how they both fix themselves despite all odds. This book made me happy and sad and I read it in twelve hours and I really love it. I love the name Finn and always will, and the way he was described was perfection. I saw him in my imagination, and I loved him. I continued to love him later when he was more than just a lovestruck silly boy and actually had to make life choices and when his life kinda stunk. I appreciated Finn. I also appreciated the well built cast of characters. Hayley was a great protag, although for some odd reason I kept forgetting her name (blame that on the gluten...), and if I had money, I'd probably go out and buy this book right away. It's well written, it's funny, it gave me tgoatg feels, and it's really beautiful. Definitely a recommendation. Great story about PTSD and choosing whether to embraced life and live it or be a zombie. 4.5/5
  • And I started reading Angel Fire, by L.A. Weatherly, which I have been putting off for weeks because love triangle and I'm kinda terrified. I loved Angel Burn. Please, don't ruin this series for me, sequel. 





Yesterday, I was driving home from PT, and just as I turned on the road I live on, my jam came on. It kinda made a sucky day turn into a lovely one.



Guys--I may have purple hair again. I'm going to try everything in my power to have at least part of my hair purple again. I don't want to say what I'm trying in case it turns out to be a fail, but be forewarned--your friendly ginger may go purple again. And I can't wait.

Nate Reuss. Need I say more.


I watched the Maze Runner last night and it was rather surreal to see Dylan O'Brien as Thomas. When I first saw the movie, it was like watching Colt run away from Grievers and be totally boss and completely unlike himself and it was awesome. And then I started Teen Wolf and fell in love with Stiles and now it's very strange to see Thomas...while seeing Colt...and seeing Stiles. It's confusing.


I think I'm going to see Paper Towns this coming Thursday! Sadly, since I sleep about eleven hours these days and have no brain, I don't think I'm going to be able to go to God's Mountain, but I'm happy to spend one more week with my family. And getting to see an awesome book turned into a hopefully awesome movie on my birthday? Yes, please!


this quote is my favourite. love it so much.


I'm really excited about school, guys. I know I'm still sick, but I have a little more of a handle on it now than I did last semester, and my hope is to be able to stay on campus more. It sucked to be constantly moving from home to dorm to home to dorm. A lot sucked back then, but that sucked a lot.

Also, I'll get to see this lovely lady. And that will just make my day, when us two socially awkward and anti-social girls are reunited. There will be much dance-partying.


I guess I should go do something productive. Like sleep. Or read more books. Because that's what productive means these days. Or maybe I'll stick to my former plan of attack--being horizontal and listening to Nate Ruess.


I like that plan. It's a good plan.

I promise to blog more than once this week! Have a great weekend!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

week by week #1 // too much teen wolf and adorable owls

little bit of refurbishing around here, huh? It took me and my glutened brain about seven hours to make all these fancy news things (and I napped for about two of those hours...) lemme know what you think, or if there is something small that I've missed!

I've decided to start weekly updates, because monthly recaps are becoming more and more popular...but I don't have the attention span for that long. Seriously, I went to write a June recap last month and I sat there and thought, "Wait...what did I actually do this month?" Yeah...I just don't retain the information I need--especially if I know I'm supposed to remember it. Random facts about my favourite singer or middle names? Got it. Important math theorems? Nope. Not even a chance.


So here are some of the things I've done/loved this week!

you wouldn't expect me to start this with anything but music right? Infinite's Bad is a brand new song from them, and I cannot get enough of it or the music video. As a kpop reactor aptly put it, it's low-key creepy, and the illusions and style of the mv are fantastic. As the song goes, it's a liiiiiiittle more auto-tuned than I usually like, but it's also catchy and gets stuck in my head all day every day. I listen to it, and it's definitely a dancing song. My sister and I dance party all the way.


Next up on the song list is also a new kpop song--Got7's Just Right. This song melts my heart. The MV is cute, but I really really love the song. The lyrics have a really great meaning that you don't see that often in the kpop scene, and I could not be prouder of JYP and Got7 because of this. When I feel a little sad or need a pick me up, I listen to Just Right and I instantly have to smile. And dance. Because honestly--why wouldn't you want to dance to this adorable song?


After this one I'll shut up about music. I promise. Listen to Fun's Stars. This one makes my throat get a little tight and my brain kick into overdrive for reasons I'm not really sure why. It's a song that makes me think, and I love songs that make me think. It also gives me Matt and Jon feels, but pretty much everything these days gives me feels, so...


Guess whose birthday is drawing near? Mine! I'm someone who gets excited about birthdays, and I'm really happy I get to spend mine at God's Mountain again. I didn't think I would get to go this summer, but as long as my health allows, I'll be there for a week! Along with that, I love early birthday presents. I'm really awkward about opening presents in front of people, but when one of my best friends came over for a few days and brought my present with her, I didn't awkward myself out too much. Anyways, these are a few of the coolest things ever. Owls for the win.



For the longest time, I melted citrus-y wax to make my room smell beautiful. Recently though, it kinda stopped working for me, so I picked up a new scent. Now my room smells like apple pie and it makes me super excited for October. Like, I need October.


Dang it. I said I'd shut up about music. And I've fallen back in love with my f(x) red light cd, especially the photo book (soooooo artistic...). I apologize. (not really)


books books books (as you can see, I'm still lovin' Everybody Sees the Ants. And probably will til I die.)


I've been fairly sick recently (and then managed to be stupid and eat very much not gluten free macaroni and cheese), so I've spent a lot of time on the couch. Kleenex and Sprite are my besties. And also two new tv shows--Reign and Teen Wolf. Reign I've watched five or six episodes and laughed in confusion over the odd music choices. Teen Wolf...well, let's just say I hit a new all time low. This is the first time I've ever marathoned more than just one season...yes, that's right, I watched about three seasons in three-ish days. I am not proud. Just bored.


So, my parents were gone last week, and I had the house to myself--except for my adorably annoying dogs. And then something happened. Something terrible and funny that led to a phone call that started with "Mom? Dad? Umm...the ceiling just fell in." Water damage sucks. At least it's all patched over and I'm not sweeping up or choking on insulation every day.


Anime-wise, I'm really loving Parasyte: the Maxim. I think I'm about half-way through. I do miss old Shinichi though--the new one is just too perfect looking. I miss the dorky glasses and awkward fumbling. Migi is as awesome always, of course.  I also finished My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too--I enjoyed the slightly original characters, but the ending was a little frustrating. Unless they're doing a third season. Which I would probably be okay with.


Writing...excuse me while I go sob in a corner. This is hard. I don't want to finish. I am really really close guys. Like, within the next 15k words, I think. *crosses fingers* I'm struggling to keep Matt in character at times, which is uber frustrating, but I'm making decisions and changes already in my original plot that make every thing flow just a little better. One of those things is that Sam and Matt are not an item. The romantic side of the story was making me pull my hair out, because I'm not a fan of people falling in love in just a few days--so my beloved twosome are just friends. I think they will end up together in the future, or at least there's potential there, but I'm going to make the choice to stay away from all that. Colt's as precious as ever, by the way. That's my excuse for watching so much Teen Wolf--it's research for how Dylan O'brien moves and acts, right? (just kidding. Stiles is life. Colt is also life.)


How are you guys doing? Do you like this style of recap? I'm going to try to be regular at posting at least once a week, especially now that school is drawing closer and closer (and we all know that when I say I'm going to be regular...I will most likely fail). Let me know if you like the new look too!

Friday, July 10, 2015

free-falling

We were nine years old. My bright pink life jacket constrained my chest like a straightjacket. My ribs ached. My trunks were just a little too big, so I kept pulling them up above my belly button in an awkward little jig.
Jon pointed at me from across the dock and laughed. “Matt looks silly.”
Dad swatted him gently and told him to stop. He kept laughing. I turned to Mum. “Do I have to wear this?”
In the tree-filtered sunlight, her brown eyes twinkled and her honey skin glowed. “I’m sorry, but you do.”
“Why does Jon get the better one?” I pulled the scratchy pink material away from my chafed neck. “It’s not fair.”
She sighed. “Jon’s bigger, baby. The blue one fits him, and this one fits you.”
The baby on shore mewled hungrily. Mum glanced at Dad, but he was setting up his chair and didn’t even hear his youngest child. She frowned, then patted my bare shoulder. “I’m sorry, Matty. Have fun, okay?”
And then she was gone.
Jon already dangled his feet over the edge when I sat down next to him, Indian-style. The blue of his life jacket set his black hair on fire, and the eyes our mum gave us shone with excitement. He was happy to be alive.
Good for him.
I eyed him with jealously. His trunks fit just fine. Why couldn’t Mum find ones that fit me?
Mine would probably have Hello Kitty on them if she did.
I looked over my shoulder to see if Mum was watching us. She was in the car with Shiloh, trying to soothe the beast. Dad’s back was turned. I took a deep breath, then unbuckled my jacket. My lungs swelled with the fresh air it needed. Thank goodness.
“Doesn’t the water look amazing?” he asked, kicking his legs back and forth. The whole dock shook. Behind us, Dad tripped and said one the words Mum scolded Jon for last week. Now I knew where he heard it. “Swimming’s my favourite.”
I gave the murky water my bravest chin and my sternest eyeball, but I could still imagine the oozy sea monsters lunging from the muddy green depths. Tentacles would wrap around my ankles the moment I got in, pulling me to the bottom and mum would cry and say this never would’ve happened if she’d let me wear the blue life jacket.
“Hellooooooo…” Jon waved his hand in front of my face. “Earth to Matty…”  He punched my shoulder. “Gosh, you’re so spacey.”
“Jon, quit bugging your brother,” Dad mumbled. He was birdwatching or sunbathing or something else more important than talking to his wife and sons. Like usual.
Jon got up. I stared in horror at his dripping legs, way too close to me. Leaves and fuzzy water scum stuck to them. I scooted as far away as possible—a little closer to the water.
“Daaaad…” I heard Jon say.
“Not now, Jon.” A page turned. A bird called from the other end of the lake. Mum sung to the baby onshore.
And then I felt a wet hand plant itself on my bare back and was shoved into the dangerous green waters without any further warning.
As my arms flailed, I gulped in a huge mouth of lake water, and I gagged on the taste of mud and dead things. My eyes burned, but no matter how hard I tried to squeeze them shut, water sneaked in. I was going to die. I really was going to die.
I didn’t even care about the blue life jacket any more. I just wanted to see the sky again, instead of the shivery distorted light above me.
My lungs and head ached. Dark spots slipped across my vision. I could barely move my arms any more. I was so tired.
I gave up. There wasn’t any point in holding on any longer. Jon was thought we were playing a game, like he always did, and my parents were too busy to care.
My body went limp.
My eyes slowly shut.
A hand grasped mine.
God? Is that you? I wanted to open my eyes, but the water was getting brighter and brighter and I couldn’t pry them open.
And then the murky water released its clutch on me.
“Matt! Oh my gosh, Matt! Ali, get over here!”
That couldn’t be God. That was my dad. That didn’t make sense.
My eyes stayed shut.
I couldn’t breathe. My lungs sloshed with water.
I was still going to die.
“Matt! Stay with me, son. Hold on!” He’d never sounded so panicked before. “Jon. Are you okay?”
I heard my brother gulp and cough. “I’m fine. Take care of him.”
Hands pressed on my chest, and someone poured their warmed breath into my cold and clammy mouth. My eyes wouldn’t open still.
And then everything in my lungs realized that this was a boy who was going to live, and it got the heck out of there.
My eyes sprung open, and I spewed and heaved violently, and the first thing I saw was my brother leaning over me, eyes wild with fear and guilt. Dad sat next to him, panting and almost sobbing. The summer breeze floated gently over me. I coughed. I’d never appreciated the way air in my lungs felt, but I would from now on.
Jon grabbed me by the shoulder and shook me. “Why weren’t you wearing your jacket? You’re so stupid—I almost killed you…I didn’t mean to. We were just going to have fun…why?” His voice echoed over the now still water. He was almost screaming.
My words scraped against my raw throat. “…pink…”
He whole face wrinkled with confusion. I pointed to the jacket. “…pink.”
A smile spread across his face, and I felt like the sun just came out. Despite the fact that my lungs were waterlogged and I could barely move, my brother grinned at me and then collapsed next to me, wrapped his arms around my wet and shaking shoulders. “I’m so happy you’re alive,” he whispered in my ear.
And to be very honest, so was I.


***

“Does Matt like swimming?” Sam held her growling stomach as they rolled down a dark road she
Linds stuck her head between the two front seats. Her funk had vanished as soon as Sam told her she could have as big of a frostie as she wanted. “He liked looking at the water, I think.”
Colt chuckled. “Nah…he hates the stuff. Avoids water like the plague. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him swim in the time that we’ve been friends. Something about an accident when they were kids.”
“An accident?”
“They?”
He blanched. “Slip of the tongue. Forget about it.”
But Sam couldn’t forget about it. Not after seeing the look in his eyes before they left. That was a look of finality. She’d seen it before, and it never meant good things.
Something wasn’t right.
“Turn around,” she said quietly. “We need to go back.”
“Why?”
She didn’t have an  answer. She didn’t want to be right.
But she knew she was.
thought was the right way.

***

It was just like before.
His throat burned, and his lungs screamed for new air. The world around him was  dark and shapeless and had no end. The taste in his mouth was salty and full of unshed tears. He squeezed his eyes shut, and let his body go limp. He was free-falling, like when you drift off in a dream but catch yourself right before you fall asleep.
It was just like before.
Except.
There was no hand grasping his, pulling him away from the monsters.
And he didn’t want to make it out alive.


*ladies and gentlemen, why do I do this to myself? the feels.*

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

little ball of feels

I would like to give a standing ovation to my second A. S. King book. seriously. I liked Reality Boy. *shrugs* It was okay. I didn't hate it, but it took me a while to enjoy it.

Everybody Sees the Ants, however...

wow.

I've seen this book a million times at the library. I've scrolled over reviews. I've picked it up and perused the synopsis multiple times. It never interested me.

I thought it was literally a modern boy living in the Vietnam War era...in his head. Yeah. That confused me. But now after actually getting into the story, I see that it's much much more than that. It's the story of someone choosing to hold on.

i've used this before but I don't care. I am Makoto. Makoto is me.

Lucky Linderman is not all that lucky. He has a squid for a mom, who only swims and swims and swims, and a turtle for a dad, who only cooks and cooks and cooks. He is the POW/MIA cause in a POW/MIA t-shirt because his grandpa was a POW/MIA and he is doing everything he can in his dreams to rescue that POW/MIA. Or is he?

You see, in the real world, it sucks to Lucky Linderman. Like, really sucks. His only friend tries to get him to be friends with the guy who bullies him (whose name rhymes with Vader...seriously, dude. Red flag) which opens up more opportunities to be bullied. His parents have no backbones and can't/won't stand up for him when he needs them most. His school sends him to counseling because something that started out as a joke and then turned into a sort of reality. The world is against him.


The only place he can escape to is in his head, in his grandfather's jungle.

That is, until Lucky escapes to Arizona, where he develops as a person, actually makes friends who build him up, and realizes that no one is perfect. Still--as his grandmother used to say: "the world is full of a--holes. What are you doing to make sure you aren't one of them?"


The lesson of this book blew my mind. As someone who's had struggles in various friendships (though not on the level that Lucky endures), the mantra of "friends act like friends" made me go "YES!!! You've got it right!" Lucky's character development hit all the points it needed to for it to be believable. And his parents. Oh my gosh, his parents. I wanted to punch their lights out at the beginning. As the story progressed, however, I loved Lucky's mom, and even his dad had some things going for him toward the end. After all--you can't change a squid and a turtle in one day. Also-- "no one can pee on your soul without your permission." People can treat you like complete and utter crap, but it's up to you whether you let their words affect who you truly are.


I can't talk about this book enough. The writing style, the characters, the arc of the story, the imagery...the way both males and females are held to standards that no one can live up to. The author shows that every person suffers in their individual ways, no matter who they are or how they behave. Some people put a mask up, others try and fix themselves with pills, and others find their grandfather in a jungle across the ocean.


The biggest thing I loved about this wonderful book is that Lucky once wasn't sure how he could keep living. And yet, this kid, this sad, beaten kid finds the strength to face who he is and who hurts him and make things at least a little better. He keeps going, even when his face is a giant scab and when his only friend is his grandfather. I admire that in him. He is more than just the POW/MIA cause--he's a hero.

You can probably imagine why I love this book so much--it didn't make me think of the great ones that much, although Lucky and Matt would probably get along famously, but it made me think about the logistics behind my book. It brought up ideas and truths that I hadn't addressed or that I'd touched on before. Basically, it  gave me feels, and I love a book that has that wonderful power. Way to go, A. S. King. You rule.


After reading Reality Boy, I didn't think I liked A. S. King's writing style enough to read her other books, but now I think I'm willing to give them a shot. I Crawl Through It sounds very intriguing, and the Ask the Passengers preview in the back of Everybody Sees the Ants caught my curiousity bone, so we shall see if I can get my hands on a copy of it. Thank goodness for libraries.

Look at me, actually blogging on a semi-sort-of schedule! Compared to the past year, that's pretty impressive. *pats self on the back* Are there any books that you didn't think you'd like, but ended up loving? What about authors who have surprised you when you didn't loooooooooove their other books? Let me know in the comments below!