The Relentless Weekly – Sept. 11, 2020

Let’s call this one the Relentless Bi-Weekly since I skipped last week, if that’s okay with you?

Loving: FALL WEATHER! I’m not thrilled that we went from 85 to 45, but I’m loving these crisp mornings in Wisconsin. I want to go to a pumpkin patch. I want to drink hot apple cider. I want to read spooky books!

Reading: I’m having trouble reading print right now. Something is going on with my eyes. That something might just be that I’m 46 years old? (I’ve worn glasses since elementary school, and started wearing bifocals last year.) I can’t decide whether to reach out to my optometrist or not. Maybe? Is it time to switch to an e-reader so that I can adjust the font size?

Listening: Thank goodness for audio since my silly eyeballs are misbehaving. I’m currently listening to Nathaniel Philbrick’s In the Heart of the Sea. The sinking of the Essex whaling ship in 1820 was the inspiration for Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Let’s be real, this is as close as I’ll get to reading that doorstop! It’s been quite good, really scratches that itch I have for narrative nonfiction.

Re-Thinking: We’ve all made some adjustments this year haven’t we? We’ve been using our imaginations to make things work in new ways. I recently had a conversation about Halloween with my sister. No matter what our respective towns decide, we won’t be participating in any sort of public trick-or-treating. (Giving for us, receiving for her – I have an empty nest while she still has young ones at home.)

After thinking about it for a while we decided to treat Halloween more like Easter. Candy hunts in the yard! Pumpkin baskets filled with goodies! Why not let the kids run around in costumes and video chat with various grandparents and family members? Times are weird. It’s okay to lament the weirdness. But what if we leaned into the weird and created some new traditions? Let’s give it a try.

Have a great weekend, you gorgeous creatures. Let me know what you are reading or loving or re-thinking. I always love hearing from you.

Women Loving Women Wednesday

Avery Reviews –

If My Body Could Speak by Blythe Baird

Where do I even begin!? I can distinctly remember the first time I stumbled across Blythe’s poetry. Sitting on my bed back at my childhood home, probably at some ungodly hour, and down a rabbit hole of Button Poetry videos on YouTube. “The Kindest Thing She Almost Did” was the first poem I ever heard by her, and the rest is history. I would highly recommend listening to her perform any one of her slams. For me, it was earth shattering. This is one of those books that felt like it shifted my entire world. I have a signed copy (again, thanks Mom!) and it is one of my most prized possessions. It’s my answer to the question“What one object would you save if your house was burning?”.

Feminism, lesbianism, dealing with mental illness… What more could I possibly want out of a book? It’s the first and only book that has ever made me cry. I devoured it the moment I received it. Reading this book felt like coming home to myself. It felt like my very soul had been opened up. Even now when I revisit it, as I so often do, it makes me feel like Blythe and I are the only two people in the world. Like for those few moments, nothing else around me exists. It’s just me, and the words on those pages. It helps that I relate so strongly to the contents of the book. It resonates in the deepest parts of me. It has made me feel such a way that I don’t even think I have the language to adequately describe. If you haven’t already gathered, this is absolutely my favorite poetry book I’ve ever read. Or maybe just my favorite book in general.

Long story short, Blythe Baird is an absolute gift. The way she delivers her poetry in slams, and the way it translates on the pages both have such a profound effect. Seeing a young lesbian from my own neck of the woods bloom into such a successful poet fills me with my own confidence. I give Blythe full credit for giving me the courage to finally pick up a pen and put my poetry to paper. Now I’m writing regularly, and it has been so healing. I could never thank her enough for opening me up to that experience. I would not be this exact version of myself without this book. It’s beautiful, heartbreaking, sarcastic, and just about everything in between. It’s an art form of its very own. It makes my heart break and feel so full all at once. I couldn’t possibly recommend it more. 

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