how i read in 2015

light-person-woman-fireI’m not much for celebrating holidays, and I don’t get particularly excited about the idea that the calendar has changed, because it does that every 24 hours. It’s not that I begrudge other people being into holidays, but no matter how much I try to drum up any emotional reaction to the idea that a certain day is something that people around me celebrate, I don’t seem to have it in me. It’s like my own version of being a sociopath, I guess.

BUT everyone does this sort of thing, so I have to. I’ve gone through all of my reading and made lots of pie charts. If there is something I do get excited about with a holiday such as this, it’s that I get to totally indulge in my love of data – and I get to berate myself for being terrible, and I’m a real masochist, so that’s great.

2015 was a really difficult year, and nearly every month when I did my roundup, I expressed some level of dissatisfaction, because I found so many books to be meh and forgettable. I read what I think is pretty broadly and diversely, but upon doing the math, I see I actually failed a lot. It’s clear that I’m not above setting reading challenges for myself – even as someone who belongs to multiple marginalized groups, I fall victim to the same forces that make national reading tastes so bland and repetitive. I’ll need to set some goals for 2016 (and beyond).

It makes a lot of sense that I found so many books meh when so many of them were just stuff about the status quo and by members of the dominant population in the US. (This feeling I have is why I don’t understand when people claim it’s hard to read diversely and still be interested. I’m bored out of my mind when all I read about is abled, cis/het white people because so often, their shit just reads the same over and over again.)

When I took away books I didn’t finish, I ended up with 160 total books finished this year. First, I wanted to look at how much I stepped out of my YA comfort zone and tried things aimed at different ages. It wasn’t a terrible span: Continue reading

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sometimes you just need a little self help

Grey's_Anatomy_Season_1_CastI think my love for Shonda Rhimes is fairly well known. The day Grey’s Anatomy premiered, March 27, 2005, I was an unhappy, angry 16-year-old high school sophomore. I was lost as a scholarship kid, black girl, semi-intellectual, semi-creative who couldn’t quite pin down her people, her passion, her direction, or her place amid a sea of both supporting and microaggressing cast members. I felt so alone, like every teenager does, and what’s more, I didn’t have the words that I would learn in college and from the internet – words like “microaggress” and “privilege” and “blackness” and “marginalization” – that would let me properly express what I felt was happening to me, and so even with my best efforts I couldn’t find myself a way out or in or through.

Then I, or maybe my mom, decided to keep the TV on for some random new show that we would half heartedly watch. It was a Sunday, which meant it was the night that my mom put on any old crap while she was ironing clothes. And I probably did not have homework, or if I did, I had no interest in doing it. So I watched, too.

And there it was. Continue reading

some plans to continue things

I am super excited to be done with graduate school. I think that means that I will come home from school (where I will be working) every day, and then it will be my afternoon and evening to do with what I will. That’s really cool. Technically I took eight months off between undergrad and graduate school, but I was applying for scholarships and working multiple jobs, so that’s still different from spending 40 hours a week in the same place and then going home and having complete ME TIME.

That’s awesome. It’s also terrifying and confusing, because I only know how to be in school. So I’m already giving myself projects, because it’s not enough to say I’m going to write my novel. I will only write my novel if I also have other structured things to do.

So, to that end, I have already contacted a relative who is a Grammy-nominated musician, and he’s going to give me guitar lessons. I really miss the piano, but I own a guitar and can’t afford a nice keyboard, and guitars are portable.

I’m going to do a Jessica Darling reread, because I’ve been meaning to for a few years, and because this.

Then there are three critical reading projects I want to look into doing so that I can maybe write some more articles for peer-reviewed journals. Continue reading