Tuesday, October 30, 2007

kissing snowflakes - READ THIS BOOK!

I regularly read young adult fiction. The category draws me because I: love fantasy writing that isn’t bone-dry with super complicated worlds or languages, am an avid romantic who loves a traditional battle between good and evil, and was very lonely and lost at that age (I’m sure everyone was, but you know how you are an island at that age). Mostly, I think I am in a constant search for the teenager I wish I’d been. Teenager and hot mess are pretty much synonymous, I think, in most people’s experience of themselves a that age…at least the people I’m close with, but I have spent a good portion of my life wishing I had made drastically different choices.

Every once in a while I find a movie or book that hits me where I live; that reminds me of something I went through and longings thought successfully buried.

I just finished reading an amazing young adult book kissing snowflakes. Written by a dear friend of mine (her first book, the irritatingly talented woman!), Abby Sher, this book is phenomenal. Written in first person narrative, it is the story of 15-year-old Samantha’s winter break with her brother, father, and brand new step mom. Through fantastic inner monologue, we join Sam in dealing with resentment of her new family situation, social awkwardness, first real kiss, and decisions about drinking and sex.

I don’t have any children, but if I did, I would want my daughter to read this and then talk with her about it to open the door to future conversations about life decisions. I would want my son to read it to understand how girls think - *how everything boys say and do to them is replayed on a loop from the occurrence until God-knows-when in an effort to make sense of it and, therefore, ourselves. I would want my boyfriend or husband to read it (if I had one, shut up) to understand me better as a person (* insert here, replace ‘boys’ with ‘men’).

Abby captures the magic of winter beautifully. Set in Vermont, this book made me miss Montana (where I grew up) terribly. I also reconnected the adolescent that pounds at my ribcage daily as I look for Mr. Right. I cried unabashedly at the end of the book, aching for the memory of a similar encounter and still hoping for a future one.

The tone of the book is straightforward, not at all cutesy, patronizing, or shallow. kissing snowflakes is not oversimplified or heavy-handed; it is complex and raw with a healthy balance of lightheartedness and vibrance, like every young woman I know…especially the one I carry with me every day.

Buy it. Read it. Pass it along or, better yet, buy another copy for someone close to you, or who you want to be closer to.

It's on...

I started this blog almost 2 years ago at have ignored it since for several reasons:
  • I was brought up to be very conscious of what I wrote down...mostly NOT to put anything in writing I didn't want shared at some time or another if it fell into the wrong hands. If people don't know how you feel, not only can you avoid hurting people's feelings, you can avoid being hurt yourself. A very well useful bit of advice that prevented a lot of missteps and is now being let go. WASPs rule...
  • When I was a junior in high school, I had a English sub who worked with us for a week on thesis paragraphs. I had never actually worked on something like that before, I thought that smart people only had to do something once and it was good, if it wasn't, you didn't have what it took. I didn't spend any time on the remainder of the paper and the teacher, on his return, didn't believe I'd written the first paragraph and accused me of plagiarizing.
Well, anyone who knows me knows that I have puh-lenty of opinions about, well, everything. I have, actually, had a private blog that about 10 friends read regularly, who would never know what was up otherwise since I'm in a different time zone or too busy. I am ready to own those opinions and share them a bit more publicly with the hope that they might help you, dear reader, make a decision, feel less alone, laugh out loud, or find something that helps you, among other things.

The term 'soul exchange' was first introduced to me by a friend years ago during a conversation, probably about a boy. She was making the point, I believe, that it took time to wade through the chaff in order to find "the kind of soul exchange we demand in a relationship." Since I am not likely to start a rock band (although in my head, I front a mean power ballad), I'm adopting it for this blog.

All my efforts to explain what this phrase means to me sound horribly woo-woo or unbearably insipid. The introduction of the term 'soul exchange' helped me to realized what I was looking for in my relationships. I've spent the last several years doing serious housecleaning on my psyche and, as a result, my personal rolodex. After the recent letting go of a friendship that has caused me tremendous stress and anger over many years, I feel like I've finally exorcised the major, external contributors of emotional drama/crazy in my life...note I said external. My newfound groundedness and freedom is something I plan to work hard to keep with me. Hopefully this forum will help me.

Here we go!