Maybe I’m Back

Maybe I’m Back

In the first week of lockdown, I finished drafting my fantasy novel, celebrated my birthday, and learned to make mini doughnuts.

There were jokes about how productive we were all going to be. How many days straight we’d been home. How we introverts had a wonderful, unfair advantage that we didn’t really like going out in the first place.

Then something inside me shifted. Almost without me noticing. My creativity sank into a tired hibernation, popping up occasionally for air then disappearing again just as quickly.

Maybe it was the stress of everything. Or the time consuming art of “coping mechanisms” (that don’t really help, y’all). Or the constant inundation of (albeit really good) art–music, movies, TV shows, everything the world was admirably pulling together in an effort to lighten each other’s loads.

My writing heart slipped away, followed by reading, then finally blogging.

A blog about books and writing isn’t much use if the author isn’t reading or writing. 😉 My daily quarantine slog through life or my mixed up thoughts on social issues (that would just add to the noise) were off-limits. (And the absolute highlight of my year, my Joshua, was a heart-close secret for a few months there. 😉)

So I limped along, dropping just enough posts to hopefully not abandon you all completely. #winning

(Don’t get me wrong, there have been some fantastic highlights this year, just a remarkable shift in some very important areas of my life.)

I felt this “something” change again this month. I wrote a list of things I was looking forward to (as simple as decorating my room for fall) and carried them out with anticipation and enthusiasm. I’ve stayed up late a couple nights reading. I’m blogging again and even scheduling some posts ahead. I’m trusting writing will return soon as well.

Maybe I’m back.

But also… I’ve been baking a lot and stretching my skills and presentation. An old hobby has become a new favorite since quarantine (and multiple seasons of Great British Bake-Off 😍). I’ve been reviewing movies. I’ve been tackling the odd handicraft here and there. I’ve grown very close and very deep with my boyfriend who is both inspiring me to be adventurous in my tastes and deeply valuing who I am.

I’ve seen a world rocked and wrecked and seen people fight over things that don’t matter and things that do. I’ve learned more about myself and how I relate to God and the world, maybe more than ever before.

So maybe I’m back. And maybe I’ve changed.

I think I’m good with that.

Book Review: Quiet Power

Book Review: Quiet Power

“Susan Cain sparked a worldwide conversation when she published Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. With her inspiring book, she permanently changed the way we see introverts and the way introverts see themselves.

The original book focused on the workplace, and Susan realized that a version for and about kids was also badly needed. This book is all about kids’ world—school, extracurriculars, family life, and friendship. You’ll read about actual kids who have tackled the challenges of not being extroverted and who have made a mark in their own quiet way. You’ll hear Susan Cain’s own story, and you’ll be able to make use of the tips at the end of each chapter. There’s even a guide at the end of the book for parents and teachers.

This insightful, accessible, and empowering book, illustrated with amusing comic-style art, will be eye-opening to extroverts and introverts alike.”
(from Goodreads)

I’m an introvert. 86% on the MBTI scale, if anyone is asking.

I struggle to want to go to social events, struggle to enjoy them long while I’m there, and am so bad at introductions I generally avoid them. I’m better at imaginary, practice conversations than real ones. I’ve grown to accept and (mostly) love this aspect of my personality, but I’ve been through times where I felt undervalued in this world and had the social skills of a baby alien.

The arts and some of the lovely and admirable people I’ve met through them have helped. The cutesy memes and entirely loveable, nerdy fictional characters have too. My parents’ support and my siblings eventually understanding that I don’t hate people just too many for too long have been a key. And the world’s most understanding and friendly extrovert and an inquisitive, thoughtful introvert adopted me as their friend for some inexplicable reason, and I’m so grateful.

But I still needed every word of this book, and I’m so glad to have read it. It gave me tips for navigating this world built for extroverts, and it reminded me again of things I’ve learned by trial and error and about why they’re important. I’ve been feeling a little extra stressed/depressed lately and had a few lightbulb moments while reading, especially in sections about self-care. (I should probably get back into journaling…)

But most importantly, this book is a scientifically-based (but not boring–there are comics and interesting stories 😉 ) love letter to introverts everywhere. I cried. God made this world to be a two-sided coin personality-wise, and especially in the chapters on extrovert/introvert team-ups and introverted “powers”, I was reminded of my value. ❤

I would love to time travel and hand this book to eleven-year-old Kate and tell her she’s not an alien, she is wonderful and loved, and she will learn to stretch and get to talk about the things she cares about without dying from fright. Instead, I passed it to my 14-year-old introverted sister and I’ll have it ready for my baby nephew when he’s a little older than four.

It’s that good.

(Notes: As an adult who has tried to read the scholarly masterpiece that is Quiet by Susan Cain and failed, this book was not too low of a reading level or cutesy. It was well thought out, respectful, and helpful.

If you are concerned about the handling of extroversion, I found it minimal since this is a book for introverts but respectful. Read reviews by extroverts if you would like to see how they felt about it.

There are a couple blasphemies.)

10 Random Facts About Sincerely, Jem

10 Random Facts About Sincerely, Jem

1. It’s a quadruplet. This novella is one of four originally published in the limited edition anthology A Very Bookish Christmas last year. (Thanks so much to Sarah Holman for coordinating this! ❤ This book exists because of you.) 

2. It’s loosely inspired by a classic. The pen pal relationship, Jessie’s aspiring writer-ness, and their pen names are inspired by Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster. 

3. There are two Doctor Who references–one was intentional. See if you can spot them. 😀

4. Did I mention cheesecake? I feel like I mention this everywhere, but cheesecake is in the book a lot. Not just any cheesecake, though–mini cheesecakes. (Which I can confirm are superior because MORE CRUST.)

5. It’s not a romance. XD

6. It’s slightly inspired by real life. I won’t spoil all of the anecdotes for you, but when Jessie accidentally burns Snickerdoodles then grates them for ice cream topping? We did that once. XD 

7. I called in backup for Longfellow’s letters in the form of guy beta-readers. I wanted his “voice” to sound authentic, so I had them particularly check that for me. (Thanks, guys!)

8. I designed the cover for this one. O.o. First time ever. 

9. Jessie is an introvert (like myself), and while she has some growing to do, she stays an introvert.

10. It released today!! Check it out on Amazon in Kindle. 😀