and the winner is Mel!
I've just emailed you, Mel. Congrats!
Right now I'm sipping on grapefruit juice, thinking about the days ahead.
I'm painting up the layers for the commissioned paintings, cutting up hearts from aged book pages for wedding garland.
My sister's wedding is in... oh. A week and a half!
I'm the maid of honor, the gluten-free cake baker and decorator, the tree-painter, and possibly the floral organizer.
After that, I've got about 5 minutes to breathe before Husband and I begin our holiday travels.
I'm looking forward to a lot. To seeing my family, to watching my sister and her husband dance at their wedding, to my in-laws' Southern feast-style celebration (which my brother, upon seeing one of their food displays, once described as 'Golden Corral on crack'). I'm looking forward to giving everyone their gifts-- carefully selected hand-made goods I think they'll love.
I'm looking forward to being in places in which I can see the sky. See the horizon line. Jordan's parents' home is on a hill, and the window in the guest bedroom is a perfect view of the sunset. I'm planning on pulling up a chair and savoring every second of that.
I'm also bringing about 10,000 books and will be reading like a madwoman.
I started visiting the library a month or so ago, and after checking out some major duds, I finally ran into books that captured me. I wanted to recommend them here, just in case one of you is also building a Winter Reading list.
One is Swimming at Night by Lucy Clarke. The basics of the plot is this: Katie's just discovered her sister, Mia, committed suicide on a trip around the world. We follow Katie as she decides to embark on an identical trip in order to find answers.
It's hard for me to describe books that affect me this deeply. Perhaps I resonated so much with it especially after experiencing a family member's suicide (six months ago yesterday). But this book is exceptionally written. Clarke was working with some serious cliches here-- free-spirit sister versus uptight sister and their competitiveness with one another. But she somehow made them real, like they weren't the same old characters in every other chick lit. I found myself relating to both Mia and Katie, understanding exactly where they were coming from, why they both made the mistakes they did and how they dealt with them. And the setting-- Hawaii, Australia, Bali-- the atmosphere was so rich, it honestly made me jump on the internet just to price some plane tickets. I don't have any plans to travel the world anytime soon, but this book has exacerbated my desires for sure. I almost cried when I finished it because I wanted more.
The next book is The Gap Year by Sarah Bird. This is about Cam and Aubrey, single-mother and daughter, who have been drifting apart for a year, ever since Aubrey got a boyfriend. This book, like Clarke's, is written from both perspectives of the two main female characters, and does just as well in capturing the voices. She does a phenomenal job in writing about the dynamics of mother and daughter. I found myself cringing while reading, as some of the tension and conflict definitely resembled my own relationship with my mother at that age. This book is also hilarious. The characters were cracking me up-- Cam and her best friend Dori are just... they're charming and neurotic and wonderfully clever.
Of course, I can't tell you too much without spoiling it, but these books were just so spell-binding I had to recommend them to you. I couldn't put them down; I read them each in less than three hours.
I'm going on a blogging break that will last, most likely, until January of next year. As I've mentioned, I'm going to be quite busy, but I also need a break from writing. I've been writing nonstop since summertime, and right now I'm craving... more manual labor with my hands. More cooking, baking, tree-climbing. I bought some hemp last week and ordered some beads. I want to go back to when jewelry was simple, when it was woven earth-colored fibers and glass jewels. I can't tell you how excited I am about that.
I'm also applying to grad school. I've got a portfolio to prepare for that, as well.
I'll definitely be around via Twitter and Facebook, if you'd like to stay in touch for the next month and a half. I really want to start taking photos again, so if I do get around to that, I will be posting them for sure.
Well, I feel oddly sad about this. But it's goodbye for now, for a few weeks is all.
I hope your holidays and new years are magical.
Sending you blessings and well wishes,
p.s. Do you have any book recommendations that you'd add to a Winter Reading list?