Everything is The Worst. [PINNED POST]

August 17th, 2017 4:06 pm by Kelly Garbato

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tweets for 2017-12-13

December 14th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-12-12

December 13th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: Helium by Rudy Francisco (2017)

December 12th, 2017 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Reflections on race, gender, mental illness — and love, naturally!

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Goodreads.)

Your God stole my God’s identity.
So next time you bend your knees,
next time you bow your head
I want you to tell your God
that my God is looking for him.
(“To the Man Standing on the Corner Holding the Sign That Said ‘God Hates Gays'”)

Once, a friend of a friend asked me
why there aren’t more black people in the X Games
and I said, “You don’t get it.”
Being black is one of the most extreme sports in America.
(“Adrenaline Rush”)

Some days I forget that my skin
is not a panic room.
(“My Honest Poem”)

###

The first poem in Helium, “Water,” took my breath away – and more or less set the tone for the entire volume.

I have a terrible time reviewing poetry; I can’t tell you whether a poem is “good,” technically speaking, only if I liked it. Even then I fear I’m a poor barometer, since I’m as likely to understand it as not.

But Rudy Francisco’s poetry is accessible AF. Also daring, insightful, passionate, and unfiltered. I especially adore the poems that tackle mental illness – which is no surprise, as I struggle with anxiety and depression myself, and thus find this genre incredibly relatable and applicable to my own life.

Many of these pieces appear in Parts I and II; but it’s those poems centered on social justice issues (Part III) that really stunned me speechless. “Adrenaline Rush,” “Rifle II,” “To the Man Standing on the Corner Holding the Sign That Said ‘God Hates Gays'” — these poems will stick with me long after Helium claims its permanent home on my bookshelves. Not that it will stay there indefinitely: this is a book I’m likely to revisit again in the future.

Though Francisco is at his best when writing about social justice issues – toxic masculinity, misogyny, religious intolerance, art as resistance, police brutality, etc. – I cared less for his love poems. Though I suppose it could just be the jaded, 39-year-old widow in me silently screaming, “Please don’t be a love poet!”

I also actively disliked “Complainers” (to paraphrase: if you’ve never had to saw your own arm off with a rusty butterknife, stfu!), which is kind of a bummer: the second-to-last poem in the book, it left a bitter taste in my mouth.

I rarely read physical books anymore – I’m more an ebook kind of gal – but I found the font a little on the small side, and unnecessarily so, since many of the pages are dominated by white space. Borderline hard-to-read for my nearly middle-aged eyes.

These are all fairly minor complaints, though, given the sheer genius and raw emotion embodied in Helium.

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tweets for 2017-12-11

December 12th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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December 11th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-12-09

December 10th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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December 9th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-12-07

December 8th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-12-06

December 7th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-12-05

December 6th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: 30 Days to Joy: A One-Month Creative Journal by Waterbrook (2017)

December 5th, 2017 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Would make a nice gift for Christians.

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Blogging for Books.)

I have a bit of an addiction to journals, even though I don’t write nearly as often as I should/mean to. That said, 30 Days to Joy isn’t something I’d normally buy for myself, since it’s explicitly geared towards Christians. So, grain of salt.

As the title implies, 30 Days to Joy is unusual, as far as journals go, in that it’s meant to be completed in a month (although there’s nothing stopping you from taking as long as you want; while each exercise is labeled “Day 1,” “Day 2,” and so on, you could just as easily pencil in the date next to it, if you prefer). Each day features a different prompt that encourages you to reflect on the topic of “joy,” whatever that means to you.

Examples of this include:

* How is joy different from happiness?

* In pencil, write those things that most frequently steal your joy. Next, in a colorful pen or marker, write ways you can choose joy in those situations.

* If joy were a person in your life, who would it be and why?

* Write down and illustrate a quote or Bible verse that brings you joy.

As you can see, the exercises featured are a mix of secular and Christian prompts, with the majority skewed secular. However, most of the quotes peppered throughout the book are explicitly Christian, including a fair number of Bible verses. For this reason, I wouldn’t even assign the more general “New Age” or “spiritual” labels to this book; it’s really just meant for Christians, which is kind of shame, because we could all use more joy in these dark times, don’t you think?

Aesthetically, the book is pleasing to the eye; the interior color theme is red and white, making this a great Christmas gift. The cover has a rich, textured feel, which is undercut a bit by the large white sticker containing copy placed on the back cover.

The dimensions of the book are small, which normally bugs the heck out of me – but the book is thin enough that it’s easy to write in. There’s enough room to respond to each prompt, too.

Great idea, though the execution isn’t for everyone.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

tweets for 2017-12-04

December 5th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-12-03

December 4th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato
  • RT @iamlaurenp: This is so sad. https://t.co/5TwDQjm1zr ->
  • RT @EdimaInwang: Guys, I need a favor again.
    This belongs to a friend of mine who is struggling with insecurity.
    How many RTs can she get… ->
  • RT @JoyAnnReid: And 18 years later, the Nixon administration sued your father and your company for housing discrimination for having applic… ->
  • RT @joffeorama: A Christmas Carol is good because it recognizes that rich people suck and will only change their ways if they are made to f… ->
  • RT @TheDweck: Congrats to Ted Cruz on killing more people than the Zodiac ->
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tweets for 2017-12-02

December 3rd, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-12-01

December 2nd, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato
  • RT @south_sab: My friend was refused service at a McDonalds today in London because she was wearing a Hijab. When she started recording the… ->
  • RT @IEarths: #ChimichangaTime! We're giving away a #Marvel #Gwenpool #Pop figure! RT & Follow for a chance to win! Winner DM'd in 30 days!… ->
  • RT @SethHanlon: UPDATE: We just got a copy of what I think is the last-minute amendment to the bill. It's 479 pages long. An unsearchable… ->
  • RT @mic: A descendant of Pocahontas reveals the disturbing truth about this storied figure — and it's something all Americans need to hear.… ->
  • RT @Amy_Siskind: It's going to take years if not decades to unbury all the hidden ways lobbyists for the far-right inserted lines to hurt w… ->
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tweets for 2017-11-30

December 1st, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-11-29

November 30th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato
  • RT @dodo: Do your dog’s paws smell like Fritos? Same. And now we know why 🐾🌮 https://t.co/cxzSBLPeah ->
  • RT @CassRMorris: Here's another tidbit hidden in fine print — authors will *have* to link their Amazon & @Goodreads accounts to hold givea… ->
  • RT @BAMwpb: First 50 to like and follow could win our copy of Turtles All the Way Down signed by John Green! Happy Holidays!🐢🐢🐢
    https://t.c… ->
  • RT @poniewozik: The scramble on the Today show this morning, by the way, is a reminder–as NBC looks to replace Lauer–that you can just ha… ->
  • RT @chrissyteigen: An SNL sketch where the reporters report on their own sexual misconduct and firings but they don't know it until live pr… ->
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tweets for 2017-11-28

November 29th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato
  • RT @Satirony: When your cousin dies in prison while serving a sentence given to him for selling weed, seeing white people being praised for… ->
  • RT @dodo: At first this dog didn’t realize that this guy is her long-last dad — but once she does, she goes WILD 💕 https://t.co/ibVeacAoFK ->
  • RT @JamilSmith: Kansas is the best argument against the tax cut. What Republicans did there should be a political cautionary tale for anyon… ->
  • RT @dodo: This shelter dog couldn't stop crying — but she had NO IDEA she was about to meet her brand-new family 💞 https://t.co/79k86quczE ->
  • RT @Duskangelreads: 📚 I am giving away one (1) of my favourite 2017 reads in Hardcover! RT + Follow to enter!! 🌏 International as long as B… ->
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Book Review: I Wore My Blackest Hair by Carlina Duan (2017)

November 28th, 2017 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Poems of Loneliness, Loss, and Defiance

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley.)

I was her American
daughter, my tongue
my hardest muscle
forced to swallow
a muddy alphabet.
(“FRACTIONS, 1974”)

in Japan,
I meet a white-haired woman who
tells me her name means moon.
But I am crescent now, she says.
Soon I will disappear.
(“YEARS”)

when
a boy plumps his lip on your throat
and asks you to say something dirty
in CHINESE, you flip the sheets
and bite down, tasting trouble
and rage. in the kitchen, alone,
you devour a pickle. your white
classmate sees you. does not.
white men claim you. do not.
you are small, fierce, and evil: with
two palms and a chest. there are
boxes made for you to check.
Chinese /
American. Chinese / American.
your mom calls. she tells you to stop
writing about race. You could get
shot, she says. so you yank your hair
into a knot at the back of your neck.
so you cinch your belt tight
at the waist.
(“YOUR MOM TELLS YOU TO STOP WRITING ABOUT RACE”)

beware of the
Chink: how it bites.
(“WHAT YOU LOOKIN’ AT, CHINK?”)

#####

— 3.5 stars —

Loneliness, grief, identity, alienation, illness, love, sex, rage, immigration, culture: the poems in I Wore My Blackest Hair glide and dance and sprint (and sometimes chomp their way) all over the map, but what they all (or mostly) share in common is an almost stubborn sense of defiance. These are stories about confronting mortality, navigating interpersonal strife, and pushing back against racist microaggressions while holding tight to one’s will to keep on keeping on.

I’ve only recently started to read more poetry; my reticence stems from the fact that I don’t always “get” the stuff. I think I got the gist of each piece, even if some (okay, a fair amount) of the imagery Duan employs went over my head. Even so, it was lovely just the same. And where it wasn’t, it’s because it wasn’t meant to be. Some of my favorites include “MORNING COMES, I AM SHINY WITH IT,” “CALUMET,” “FRACTIONS, 1974,” “MOON PULL,” “I WANT MY BOOKS BACK,” and (so much yes!) “YOUR MOM TELLS YOU TO STOP WRITING ABOUT RACE.”

Incidentally, I did notice a certain pattern of repetition over time that I found a little…distracting, I guess? Certain images pop up time and again – corn and boiled eggs; pink mouths and straining muscles; hair, both head and body – almost to the point of obsession.

If I enjoyed a poet’s work, I usually look them up on YouTube afterwards; hearing them perform the same pieces is often even more powerful and moving. I couldn’t find too many videos of Carlina Duan, but this reading of “Twelve Years Old” is both stirring – and representative of the poems in I Wore My Blackest Hair.

CONTENTS

I WORE MY BLACKEST HAIR
PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE
WHAT YOU LOOKIN’ AT, CHINK?
WHEN I BOILED THE CORN
AMENORRHEA
WHEN ALL YOU WANT
CALUMET
WHAT I’VE LOST
MORNING COMES, I AM SHINY WITH IT
EAST ANN
LITTLE SISTER, AMERICAN GIRL
GAME BOY ADVANCE
LATCHKEY
BELIEF IT IS NOT ENOUGH
FRACTIONS, 1974
YOUR MOM TELLS YOU TO STOP WRITING ABOUT RACE
I WASN’T JOKING
AUBADE FOR ANGEL ISLAND, CHINA COVE
EVERYTHING’S A FLY
AT THE SUSHI RESTAURANT HE CALLS HIMSELF A GRINGO
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN • GENERATION 1
USIS • ANGEL ISLAND, CALIFORNIA • GENERATION 0
MOON PULL
I RUN AND I RUN AND I
THEN I WOKE UP IN YOUR BED
SEVERED
HERE I GO, TORCHING
HEY, MAN
SHUT DOWN
AT THE PARTY
PACKING LUNCH ON ANN STREET
AND WHEN
I WANT MY BOOKS BACK
ZODIAC
YEARS
PICKING RASPBERRIES WITH ADAM
PLEDGE 2.0, TRIBE, ZOO

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

tweets for 2017-11-27

November 28th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato