Tag Archives: Erin Moure

#SATurday: Missouri Shows Me

14 Mar

Missouri Shows Me

I recently moved again. This time, I have found myself in Missouri, so Missouri has officially become my sixth state, my fourth in the Midwest, my second for my twenties, and my first for states that begin with the letter ‘M’.

Every time I move, I find myself wondering if that much is really that different. In the overall picture – yes – culture varies across regions of the United States, but – at the same time – people are people. We all have a story to tell. We all have loved ones, and enemies, and moments that have scarred us, and dreams that have inspired us. I find a level of comfort in familiarity, but I also count the ways my life has changed.

In Missouri, for instance, I am noticing the trees. And the hills. And the curved roads and the way the wind changes from the bottom of a hill to the top of it. In my previous state of Kansas, the wind was a constant force – never changing from one corner of the street to the next – and I could see for miles. Now, when I find myself in a car, I find it quite unsettling to go up a hill without knowing what could appear on the other side. Perhaps, this is also a reaction from my car anxiety, but for now, let’s focus on Missouri and what the movement has shifted in me.

miss.23.23 PM

I have a brand-new desk. As a writer, my desk is extremely important to me. In fact, I feel more like I have moved desks than homes. So far, I’m quite found of this little, black workstation. So is my cat.

Every morning, we sit at my unfolded desk, which is situated left of a window – facing even more trees – and at night, I can watch the sunset without moving away from the computer. Sometimes, I wish beauty demanded one to move away from the computer in order to see the beauty outside. Although it’s easy to move myself, I think it would be an even more interesting world if – in order to view something like the sunset – we had to be outside and right beneath it to see it. If we were inside, it would be like the very blinds that do, in fact, blind us on most days. So, I suppose, in some ways, we already live in this world I am dreaming about on a night long after the sun has fallen. I cannot even remember seeing it happen. I definitely did not feel it. And I wonder how something so big – like the ending of another day – can pass by without stealing a moment of recognition.

I try not to dwell in the guilt these thoughts cause, but I mostly try not to lie to myself by saying I will, surely, see the sunset tomorrow. I will (most likely) miss that one, too.

This is much like moving to me. Here I am, contemplating what moving to Missouri feels like to me, and even though I asked myself, “How does Missouri feel?” my only emotions reside in what I decided to bring with me.

Two copies of the first-edition of November Snow sit on the top left shelf of my desk. My new, leather-bound journal is next to them, followed by a marble, cat statue my brother bought me during his honeymoon in Mexico. I have strawberry candies, and pens, and two maneki-nekos – both from Japan via my aunt who works there – and a photo of my late mother, who happens to be that same aunt’s older sister. Those objects, along with my top-ten poetry books (including but not limited to Edgar Allan Poe, Sylvia Plath, Billy Collins, and Erin Moure), have ventured with me.

As I flip through my poetry collection and stare at the trinkets I have as companions, I find it difficult to believe I’ve ever missed a sunset at all. A sunset is not a “thing” – it is a time – and it is constantly moving…much like how I feel moving around the country has always been my way of living.

Moving to Missouri is a living sunset to me, a consistent change on the horizon, right outside my window, always there. And even if I do not see or feel it, it still shows itself to me. I only have to acknowledge the existence of it all – a moment in time, brought on by another ending to another day so a new one can begin.

~SAT

I was a guest writer on Lit World Interviews recently. Check out my blog post, How I Found a New Publisher after Losing One, by clicking the link. Here is a small preview: “Previously in my career, I allowed seven years to pass between my first novel and my second novel. This was because I have made that “I am going to stop for a while” decision before, and while I think it was a necessary lesson for me, I knew I couldn’t do that this time around. Not again. But that was all I knew for certain. Everything else was a looming cloud of ‘What now?'”

10 Cry-Worthy Books From My College Years

8 Sep

Announcements: 

Take Me Tomorrow now has a book trailer, which I hope you’ll take a minute to watch, like, and share before you read today’s post! Thank you.

10 Cry-Worthy Books From My College Years

After I wrote Books That Changed My Childhood, I received a few emails asking me about my other novels, so I am going to continue sharing different types of reads that have affected my life. I’m also adding my favorite quotes! I’ll be honest. I started writing a list of novels that affected my high school years, but it got out of control, so I moved onto my college time only to realize most of the books did, in fact, make me cry.

Yes. That was a warning.

Most – if not all of these – made me cry. And if you’ve never cried at a novel, I recommend these because everyone should cry at a novel at least once in their reading lives.

cry

1. The Art of Racing the Rain by Garth Stein – Yes, this novel is told from a dog’s perspective. And yes, you can take a dog seriously. (If you think you can’t, trust me when I say you must read this book.) A friend recommended this novel to me, and I was hesitant when I picked it up in the bookstore. To my surprise, I read it in one sitting, even when my vision got blurry.

“Here’s why I will be a good person. Because I listen. I cannot talk, so I listen very well.”

2. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro – If you’ve ever though that first-person can’t be taken seriously, then, Ishiguro is here to prove you wrong. There are no other words to describe his prose in this novel. You will begin at childhood and grow into an adult, just like you did in real life. It will remind me of how you learned in life, and it will tear you apart.

“All children have to be deceived if they are to grow up without trauma.”

3. The Unmemntioable by Erin Moure – Arguably one my favorite poetry collections if not my favorite. (I can never decide which one is my favorite.) I first read this in my poetry class at the University of Kansas, and I have continued to read it over and over ever since. The exploration of language, history, relationships, and identity is more than enough to cause emotional reflections.

“When there was no one left, it became nowhere. There were no more letters after the w.”

4. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang – Cry-worthy? Debatable. But the emotions are just as strong. The awe could possibly bring tears to your eyes. They sure choked me up. But I mainly added this because it’s the perfect example of a graphic novel that proves all graphic novels can be taken seriously.

“It’s easy to become anything you wish . . . so long as you’re willing to forfeit your soul.”

5. When The Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka – This novel has never left me, perhaps because Otsuka never gives names to her characters. She forces you to become them, delicately and masterfully, before she explores Japanese concentration camps in the United States. This is one of those stories I lent out to someone and deeply regretted it when I didn’t get it back. I will have this book on my shelf again one day.

“He wondered if you could see the same moon in Lordsburg, or London, or even China, where all the men wore little black slippers, and he decided that you could, depending on the clouds. ‘Same moon,’ he whispered to himself, ‘same moon.'”

 6. Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat – Not for the light-hearted. I first read this memoir after the earthquake in Haiti. I wish I could say more about it, but I fear that I would take away from the exploration of culture and identity if I did.

“Love is like the rain. It comes in a drizzle sometimes. Then it starts pouring, and if you’re not careful, it will drown you.”

 7. A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah – Again, not for the light-hearted. This is a memoir of a child solider, and it is also one of my favorite books. Right when you think you can handle his prose, he reminds you of his age, and you are torn apart, but you keep reading because his voice coaxes you to.

“We must strive to be like the moon.”

 8. One Day by David Nicholls – Maybe the emotions in this novel are a little too close to reality? Meet Dex and Em, two friends who continue to meet on the same day every year for…oh, you know, their whole lives. A definite reminder of how time passes, how much can happen, and how we change because of it all.

“You can live your whole life not realizing that what you’re looking for is right in front of you.”

9. Aimless Love by Billy Collins – Another poetry collection, but this is technically a few of his collections together. If you’re hesitant about poetry, I definitely recommend Collins because he is easy to slip into but complicated over time. You might not cry, but you might have to take a moment to feel like crying after reading a few of his poems.

“No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted

out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.”

 10. On the Road by Jack Kerouac – Yes. I just admitted this. I cried when I read On the Road. I’m not sure why since it’s not necessarily a “sad” novel, but it was for me. The exploration and exploitation of Dean really brought the sadness out in me. I would get more into detail about how I feel about Dean and the other characters – which were definitely based off of real people – but I don’t want to spoil the story. On the Road is more than just a recount of drugs and sex in the Beat Generation. It’s forcing life when faced with living like you’re already dead.

“…the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”

Oh, just an extra. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. I only debated this novel because I technically read it when I was fourteen, but I reread it later on, and I cried. Again. And at the theatre when I saw the adaptation. And when I got home and read it again. And again when I forced my friend to watch the movie.

I don’t purposely read novels that are turned into movies, but it might be interesting to note that these are also movie adaptations now: Never Let Me Go (I cried) and One Day (I almost cried.) On the Road (Okay. So I didn’t cry at this one. But the feels!)

So what novels or poems have brought tears to your eyes? Why? Share them below, and let’s have a cry fest! (A happy, artistic one, of course.) I’ll bring the tissues.

~SAT

Finals Week

14 May

As you’re reading this, I’m probably studying or hunched over a scantron, bubbling in various letters that represent a semester’s worth of knowledge. (Wish me luck!)

What I’m here to say, though, is a response to my post on January 25, 2013: Back to School. In case you started following me recently (or can’t remember this post) I talked about the books I’d be required to read, and I promised I’d let you all know what I thought about the texts. So, without further ado, I’ve listed the readings in order of favorite to least favorite beneath the specific reading/writing course:

Poetry Writing:

1. The Unmemntioable by Erín Moure: This was my favorite poetry collection by far. I often underline my favorite lines while I’m reading, but I started underlining everything Moure wrote! In fact, I actually posted about this reading earlier this year: April 8, 2013: Relax & Read: The Unmemntioable by Eric Moure.

2. Poetry! Poetry! Poetry!   by Peter Davis: Seemingly cute, easy, and fun read, but ultimately challenges the writer to face the truth behind the ego of the artist. I don’t want to say too much, because I’m planning on doing a post on this soon!

3. The new black by Evie Shockley: I’ve read this collection numerous times now, and I find new cultural challenges every time. Shockley is great at questioning on what makes a person within their race while using form to enhance it.

4. Well Then There Now by Juliana Spahr: This collection is a study on ecopoetics. It’s very interesting, but I often got lost on some of the language, perhaps because I’m unfamiliar with Hawaiian terms. However, I’d still give it a four-star rating, because my professor allowed me to understand. Alone, I’m unsure what I’d rate it.

Poetry collections in order of like.

Poetry collections in order of like.

Nonfiction Writing: This class was my first nonfiction class, and I loved it! 

1. The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present by Phillip Lopate: Great collection of personal essays, from authors I recognized and from new writers I’ve never come across. Organized by topic and year. Loved to flip through it and just let the words take me away.

2. Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction Works from 1970 to the Present by Lex Williford and Michael Marten: It was hard for me to choose between the first and second rating. I picked this one as number two only because we didn’t get a chance to talk about these essays as much, but it’s just as great of a collection!

3. Short Takes: Brief Encounters with Contemporary Nonfiction Judith Kitchen: I enjoyed the switch from longer essays to the shorter ones. Amazing how much can be said in so little words.

4. Crafting the Personal Essay: A Guide for Writing and Publishing Creative Non-Fiction by Dinty Moore: Very clear about how to write nonfiction personal essays, if you’re looking into writing one for yourself and/or others.

5. How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One by Stanley Fish: On March 19, 2013: Relax & Read: How to Write a Sentence, I wrote about this thin but very informative book. Easy for the beginning and a nice reminder for everyone who might get caught up in the complexity of writing later on.

Nonfiction novels in order of like.

Nonfiction novels in order of like.

I apologize for the short post, but I’m really busy studying! I will return with excitement (and, hopefully, A’s!) I hope everyone’s week is going well, and, as usual, comment on this post and let me know if there is any topic (or writing advice) you’re curious about!

~SAT

Relax & Read: The Unmemntioable by Erin Moure

8 Apr

23 days until the Minutes Before Sunset release!

April is National Poetry Month, so I thought I’d discuss a poetry collection today. So I read The Unmemntioable by Erin Moure for my Poetry Writing II class, and it is safe to say that I am in love. 9781770890046_p0_v1_s260x420

Moure’s poetry collection defies time along with persona. It’s the repercussions of identity within a family’s timeless love. As Barnes & Noble explains, “Moure’s poems, love is bound to a duty: to comprehend what it was that the immigrants would not speak of. Now they are dead; their children and grandchildren know but an anecdotal pastiche of Ukrainian history. On Saskatoon Mountain in Alberta where they settled.”

The history, along with the reflection from present day, is brought to life in the only life left to the known, knowing that the life is ultimately unknown. (Complicated, eh? But wonderful.) I have to admit that I also feel a connection within the mother-daughter relationship of the unknown. The speaker of the poems, Moure, is spreading her mother’s ashes in the Ukraine and is forced to wonder what exactly happened to her mother in order to understand who her mother really was, since her mother never spoke about it. (Considering how awful the Polish-Ukraine conflict was, this isn’t a surprise, but the contradiction this history caused is a thoughtful journey to take.)

Here are my favorite quotes:

“There are persons who can speak no more, whose very names have vanished. Yet a name excised from the verge where it once lived still casts its sound on all who sleep there and enters their throats.” (45)

[Take me in your arms] a way of seeing then.” (15)

“Today I refuse to be pinned down to an identity. Right away, I want to betray it.” (19)

“That there is a before-speaking, that we did not always speak” (41)

“this was passed to writing and the content of a writing burned can no longer be handed back to memory, for writing abolishes memory and as what was written can no longer be passed down, it has no Author in the old sense: no ability to act as proxy to, to verify on behalf of.” (13)

“For if thought that exceeds what has yet been thought were not possible, the infinite would not be possible, and self/ itself or subjectivity its intermediary transcendence/ incendiarry.” (39)

Check it out here: The Unmemntioable by Erin Moure

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

~SAT

April 10: My Thoughts On: Young-Adult Fiction  

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