Book Review: Into the Water

I got the new Paula Hawkins novel, Into the Water, thanks to Book of the Month extras.  Just like her debut, The Girl on the Train, I couldn’t put it down.

It’s a quick read and it looks longer than it is in hardback format.  The type is large and the chapters are short.  It moves back and forth between narrators with speed and skill.  I’m normally not a fan of that but Ms. Hawkins does it really well.  I do admit that it was a little confusing at first trying to place everyone into the narrative but I think that was part of the point.  This book really makes you lose your bearings, very much like the characters.

I enjoyed the tight family drama and the suspense.  It kept me reading and I’m sad it’s over.  That’s what a good book should do.  I definitely recommend Into the Water to lovers of grip-lit like myself but I also recommend it to anyone who likes a well-told story.

Who Am I?

It’s been nearly a month since I left my job and it’s been both awesome and stressful.  I keep going back and forth from “I’m so glad I left” to “Holy crap! Why’d I leave the comfort of a full-time job?”

After a recent church class I realized that my angst is tied up in identity.  Who am I now? Who am I if I’m not Kim the tax accountant?

I’m Kim, Who Lives at Home.  I’m Kim, the aspiring author.  I’m Kim, who volunteers with kids. I’m Kim, who wants to work with kids.  I have to remind myself of that everyday, sometimes several times a day.

I do have plans but I want to take it one week at a time.  God has told me he wants me to spend more time in prayer and I’m making an effort.  I realize that I have to be patient and wait for Him to tell me where to go next.  The last thing I want is to screw this whole thing up.  This time is a gift from God and I’m not going to squander it.

Book Review: Orange is the New Black

Having seen the series, I’m not sure why I wanted to read the book, Piper Kerman’s memior, Orange is the New Black, about her time spent in a Federal women’s prison.  I suppose I wanted the real story.  To say the Netflix series takes liberties is an understatement.  I enjoyed the first two seasons but all the backstories in the third became a bit tiresome.

I thoroughly enjoyed Kerman’s writing and you can tell this wasn’t ghost written.  That’s something I always appreciate.  She did her time in Danbury, Connecticut and she writes about it with surprising affection, though going to prison was a traumatic experience for her, as it would be for anyone.  Prison is degrading and humiliating but she writes about the women she met there with love and grace, giving them back some of the dignity the institution took away.  She also writes about the importance of having people in your life on the outside who make life worth living.  The letters, the visits, the books, all kept Piper going through a horrible experience.  That’s a lesson we can all learn without spending any time in the clink.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read.  In fact, I really enjoyed comparing it to the series and turning each page to see what crazy, funny, horrible, or happy thing was going to happen next.  I would recommend it if you’re a big fan of memoir like me.

Next Chapter: A List

Now that I’ve given notice on my job, my mind has turned to what won’t be happening anymore.

Things I won’t do in the next 12 months:

  1. Tax Season (oh, sweet relief!)
  2. Take only a couple days off at a time because of work obligations (and the fear of being told I’m not good enough)
  3. Try to make up an excuse to get out of the Christmas Party
  4. Stand around in the conference room and celebrate every other thing (birthdays, Boss’s Day, Administrative Assistant’s Day, these people really like to celebrate)
  5. Listen to whining from people who have no right to whine (well, that may still happen, just different people)
  6. Listen to my bosses blame me for things that aren’t my fault (again, could still happen but different bosses)
  7. Feel guilty that I’m not doing enough
  8. Beat up on myself
  9. Be paranoid about what others think of me
  10. Do everything for everyone else and never for myself

There’s a lot of work on me that has to be done.  It starts with taking a break and then figuring out how to move forward.  God has a plan and my job for right now, is trusting Him.

Next Chapters and Such

So, I, uh, well… I kinda quit my job.  Yikes.  I actually wrote it.  I quit my job to be a writer!  Yay!  Just kidding.  Kind of.

Let me back up.  I ran into a friend of a friend at Barnes and Noble the other weekend.  I went to buy a copy of Thirteen Reasons Why and drink iced coffee in the cafe like a legit hipster.  She’s going to a local college to get some kind of Masters and working there to make ends meet.  I asked her how she was doing and she said she was happy doing that.  Happy.  I had a total epiphany.  I have savings and I hate my job.  What am I doing?

I’m just so over it.  I’m over accounting, I’m over the utter crazy that is the management and I’m over being depressed about how my life turned out.  So I didn’t get married in my twenties and get stuck in a job I hate because I’ve got bills to pay and kids to buy stuff for.  That was the dream, right?  Well, screw that.  I just turned 30 and I’m going to take this opportunity to make myself happy, because I’m so tired of being practical and sucking it up for everyone but myself.  And I may never get this opportunity again.

I also feel like God has something more for me.  More than just this job and all the crap that goes with it.  More than being single and yearning and all that blah, blah, blah.  God is leading me away and I have to follow that no matter what.  Like I’ve said it’s about trusting him even if others think you’re crazy.  And trust me, there are some people who think I’m nuts for doing this.

So, anyway, I decided I’m going to take a gap year to find myself before I start the next chapter and find my bliss.  Carpe diem, y’all!

 

Hello, Darkness, My Old Friend

If you’ve been reading this blog this year, you may have noticed a running melancholy in the posts.  I realize they haven’t been exactly upbeat.  Even though I’ve tried to put a positive spin on my angst, they’re kinda downers.

So far this year, I’ve written about the horrors of tax season (that’s not an exaggeration), my dog’s untimely death (seriously, why?), my teenage self vs my current self (like looking in a mirror), being persecuted for following my own path (probably paranoia, but you know what they say about that), turning 30 unmarried (and thinking about it way more than is healthy), and my crushing loneliness and restlessness.

So, what’s left to write about?  Oh, yeah.  My descent into depression.  Depression is a horrible disease but it can be funny, too, right?  Well, last night as I swallowed my shiny new Lexapro through snot and tears (again, not an exaggeration) it was really not funny.  But today it is because, you know, Buzz Feed.

God bless Buzz Feed.  Seriously, how many times has it just made your day?  Like today with this article.  Spoiler Alert:  It’s stuff people posted on Tumblr about being really not ok.  It spoke to me because there’s nothing worse than having to tell people you’re “fine” when you are really, really far from fine.

And a lot of people don’t get it.  Which is why I appreciated this article.  It puts a humorous spin on being supportive to a person going through depression.  And it makes some great points.  There’s such a stigma around depression and yet so many people suffer from it.  The disease causes enough shame; we shouldn’t be getting it from the people around us, too.  I feel misunderstood under normal circumstances so it’s ten times worse when I’m depressed and people think I’m just being weird and anti-social.

Laughter is good medicine but if you’re depressed or suspect you might be, please get help.  This isn’t my first rodeo and I know that waiting only makes it worse.  There will be days when you can laugh about it and days when you can’t.  Let’s hope there are more of the former.

How To Give Your Blog a Facelift

June:  Go on WordPress while bored at work.  Think about how your blog could use a facelift.  Decide to look around at the themes.  Try one out and do some customizing.  Abandon it.  Pick another and play with customizing.  Abandon it.  Think that you really need to pick a new theme but they all seem to require you to actually take a picture and upload it.  Go on Goodreads and look at your recommendations.

July:  Get notification that it’s your third Blogiversary!  Think that you should really get serious about updating your theme.  It’s been two years since you picked the old one.  Look at the themes again and write down three that you like.  Make a mental note to do it on the weekend when you’re bored.

August:  Go on WordPress while bored at work.  Decide to look at the themes again.  Search one that is good for text and doesn’t focus on photos.  Find a good one and start customizing.  Decide you don’t like the suggested header images.  Search for a header image.  Abandon search when you can’t find one in the right dimensions.  Look at Facebook.

September:  Go back to the theme you played with last month.  Change the color scheme.  Decide there is one suggested header image that really is kinda cool.  Change your title font.  Update your tagline because even though you’re not 30 yet it took you this long to get a new theme, so.  Click Activate.

Et voila!  Hope you like it!