“A Teen’s Guide to Getting Stuff Done” (2017) | BES (Nov. – Dec. 2021 & Jan – Feb. 2022)

Welcome back!!

CHOSEN BOOK:

“A Teen’s Guide to Getting Stuff Done” (2017) by Jennifer Shannon LMFT, Illustrated by Doug Shannon

((Discover your procrastination type, stop putting things off and reach your goals;

nonfic))


TRIGGER WARNINGS:

None.


THEMES:

Procrastination, procrastination types: perfectionist, warrior, pleaser, rebel, productivity, therapy, guide, illustrations, simplified language, psychology, self-help, nonfiction, easy read, user friendly, teens, young adult, self-esteem, self-confidence, recovery, overcoming adversity, goals, planning, self-compassion, self-improvement, coping strategies, exercises, skills: reframing root beliefs, pros and cons, 5 minute jump start, eliminate distractions, stay on schedule, hit the target (not the bull’s eye), coping with criticism, ride the wave (of emotion), deep breathing, calendar sharing, divide until doable.


SUMMARY:

If you’re looking for a simple, life-affirming and easy way of overcoming some of your biggest procrastination struggles but those same struggles also get in the way of you achieving your dreams and you’re lost as to WHERE you can possibly start??? Then this is the book for you!! It’s easy to read, has large concepts and what could otherwise be boring blocks of text broken down into simplified language, illustrations and wonderful paragraph spacers. It’s compact, it’s simple and it’s a great little read! Something to dip your toes into finding and figuring out which procrastinator style you are and also with exercises that help to practice what the majority of the REST of the book is about: which is tackling that procrastination demon and achieving your goals with smarter, more clever ways of being!

Personally, I fall into the categories of The Perfectionist and The Warrior. I don’t relate as much with The Pleaser or The Rebel. The prior two are my main procrastination types. What might be yours? Pick up this book and find out!!!

Something I also took away from this book was some of the end of chapter questions and the exercises sprinkled throughout. For instance, the one on perfectionism and identifying task-avoidant thoughts and root beliefs was something I actually did try out in the moment for something I was clearly avoiding (contacting my old job, Amaryllis, to wipe my hands clean of it and fully move on) and so that real world application was really, really helpful!! I did it when my partner, Vaness, and I were at a library so that was super helpful. Right smack dab in December 2021 haha. It was nice and helpful!! Further elaborated:

“Step 1. Think of something you have been putting off and write it down.

Step 2. Ask yourself: Why don’t I get started right now? If I did start what am I afraid of? What’s the worst thing that could happen if I started right now? List the answers that pop into your head. These answers will most likely be your task avoidant thoughts.

Step 3. Circle one of them that feels especially true or upsetting.

Step 4. Ask yourself, If this thought came true, what is the worst thing this could mean about me? About my life? About my future? Write them down.

Step 5. Repeat Step 4 until you have identified a root belief.”

— Shannon, 2017, p. 38-39

If you fall under the ‘Warrior’ type of procrastinator (you need to be motivated in order to start tasks, you’re easily distracted, boredom is the bane of your existence) you know you have a warped sense of time, so instead of saying ‘I’ll complete this in one hour’ DOUBLE your estimated time to instead be like ‘I’ll actually complete this in two hours.’ That way if you do, you’re on target and if you don’t, there’s not as much of a feeling of failure or shame and you don’t continue to put off other goals and tasks related to the big picture because of your insecurities around judging time completion (Shannon, 2017, p. 117).

There’s another great technique to use to help battle against your procrastination that Shannon, 2017, outlines as “Hit the target” NOT the bull’s eye–once again, reiterating that it’s the process that matters and less so the ideal behind the root belief at the center of the target (the one that becomes so overwhelming and all-encompassing that we naturally procrastinate and put it all off). Hitting the target means that you begin–in whichever way that is, whichever learned step from this book (like breaking until doable, 5 minute jump start, breathing exercises/riding the wave, identifying root beliefs). The bull’s eye for the perfectionist could be having a PERFECT score on an exam or for the pleaser to not make anyone upset. The reality though is that we won’t always hit that bull’s eye, and, really, we don’t even HAVE to! What matters is that we start, we begin, we move forwards and we inch our way towards completing tasks that ultimately serve as goals that ultimately serve our dreams and healthy root beliefs. So, finally, before other sections of this review are ramped up, remember this:

“When you hit the target and not the bull’s eye, you open up a world of ways to win. Give yourself praise for the work you did, instead of a kick in the pants for what you did not do. The more you’re rewarded for being on target, the more your motivation and self-esteem will grow” — p. 142


BOOK LENGTH:

143 pages


MY RECOMMENDATION SCORE:

4/5


OUTSTANDING QUOTES AND IDEAS:

“But being a perfectionist doesn’t mean you’re perfect. It means you believe you should be” — Shannon, (2017), p. 7

Now… that’s just relatable. Stay tuned for more to come!!

“Making decisions can be a constant problem for the perfectionist, who always believes there is only one correct choice. Whether you’re buying a pair of shoes or deciding on a college, you always need more time. When you can’t be sure you’re right, you’re paralyzed, unable to commit to any choice at all. To others, this can look like laziness or lack of motivation, but the perfectionist isn’t lazy. You’re working overtime, agonizing over making the correct choice” — Shannon, 2017, p. 9

Ugh, truer words have never been spoken… I can relate to this statement and description 1000%. It actually makes me really more interested in finding other books about perfectionism and overcoming it! I’ve gotten so lost in perfection these days that everything slides backwards, time passes on endlessly and I fall further and further behind.

Case in point: blog posts, book reviews, film reviews, Youtube videos, live streams, gaming, reading books, writing fan fiction, editing videos, and even other stuff that trickles into my professional life like postponing a difficult conversation, learning how to work a blood pressure cuff and doing house chores like laundry and the dishes and downloading music or lying back in my bed after I get up for only an hour. It’s EXHAUSTING. 0/10 would not recommend. SO if YOU have any tips or suggestions for books on perfectionism and overcoming it, leave that down below!!!! Maybe I’ll try a quick search and add it to the ‘things to check out section’ down below too, before I fully publish this post!* (*or maybe later? I DO want this post out TODAY which it’s Feb. 9th 2022 now soooo yeah. I’ll do a future follow-up post and if you leave any ideas down below, I’ll shout you out over there some time!! Yes, it doesn’t have to be perfect and I’m not putting it off for it to BE perfect, I just don’t think I can achieve that plus editing this whole review plus finishing all the leftover sections plus getting it published while in public… It’s a LOT of steps already! And that can be a future impact of productivity that doesn’t have to be done today! I really want this review done and over with!! Hahaha. It’d be a nice callback in the future too! A future post already in progress, ooooo (even if it’s just the thought stages))

“Even low-stakes situations can be a challenge when perfectionists apply their high standards to them. You may only need to write a thank you note, but if you think the note must sound flawlessly sincere, you can be immobilized and wind up writing nothing at all. And of course, the hurt feelings at the other end would be exactly the opposite of what you were after” — Shannon, 2017, p. 9

Why is this EXACTLY me??? I’ve always shied away from calling what I go through and have been going through in the last couple of years “true perfectionism” because I know a big part of it can be an actual OCD diagnosable condition and I don’t want to insinuate things that are smaller and NOT conditions as being other, larger things with layman’s terms (Think the clueless mental health conditions people that claim they’re “soooo OCD” because they like things filed a certain way. *rolls eyes*)ย 

This description of it here regarding procrastination though just fits so much with my experiences and may just be yet another way OCD is coming out in a different theme in my life now. (Along with having to do things in three’s (like emoticons) and harm OCD directed towards other people, mainly small children, mostly babies, from afar (like babies I see online from family posts, other people’s families, not my own)).

It’s frustrating how OCD changes shapes and molts and puffs in other ways. But I’m working through it the best I can. And I’m catching myself a bit more when I am procrastinating and such… which if I could correct the behavior more often that would REALLY help but for now I’m noticing it and sometimes still going along with it with self-sabotage but I guess it’s a process? I don’t even know. But now perfectionism may be something that’s getting in the way of things so there’s that. Awesome. Just what I needed, right?

This just happens a lot to me now though in many areas of my life all at the same time: I can’t finish a TV series because I want to review it on my blog. I can’t finish dropping off a book until I’ve gone through my page flags and written the review. I can’t read my next book because I want to preserve the thoughts of my last one that still needs to be written upon, I do manage to move forwards with it, but keep hitting snags and then also neither read my current book or review the last one. I can’t watch any current MCU things because I’m still stuck in Thor from last year. I can’t write X or Y review because I haven’t done the previous ones. I can’t watch a couple Netflix horror movies because I never fully did the book reviews from before. I can’t edit my Fai series because they have to be in chronological order and what video out of thirty should I really edit first to get up online? It’s awful, this juggling and getting nowhere at all. I hate it. And it’s overwhelming and I procrastinate and avoid and still, still I reside in these situations. Procrastination sucks. And can be super debilitating, but the jokes about it never cover all that expense.

“Once you finally get around to studying or writing, you may even get into it, feeling satisfaction in getting it done, and pledging to stay on top of assignments in the future. But due to the warrior’s distorted experience of time, daily planning is especially difficult” — Shannon, 2017, p. 16

I found this quote to be especially interesting. As identifying with The Warrior, I find I DO have quite a distorted perception of time. I know I SHOULD only assign myself 2 or 3 main goals for the day but I’m soooo ambitious (maybe overly so) and think I can handle it all that I wind up always writing 10 or 11 and then maybe achieve two or three and feel bummed about the rest. I struggle with factoring in time to eat, sleep and perform my ADL’s. And how long it takes me to naturally get things done… Ooof. A flawed system, of course.

There’s another half a quote here that I’ll mention briefly regarding “when you encounter the tedious steps that are necessary to move forward, you begin to lose steam and put off what you had begun” (Shannon, 2017, p. 16) as additionally super accurate and on the nose. Losing steam is the worst part. I can start off pretty strong and then I get tired and want to just give up, give in and do the easier thing like watching videos or shows… Then it feels even harder to pick it back up, more time passes and I start missing out on things or not doing other things in the genuine reality timeline and yeah. It’s a cycle. I don’t think I’m even in this review 100% anymore and that feels odd and strange and not something ‘perfect’ and enjoyable and that sucks, a lot. Gah.

“[Once procrastinating] you may feel ashamed, disappointed and frustrated. So you return to the stimulating activities you love, where warriors thrive, forgetting the tasks you need to get done to move your life forward” — Shannon, 2017, p. 18

My literal response: Oh damn. Don’t call me out like that. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฐ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿค

ย 

“If you haven’t called a friend in a long time, you may be hesitant to call even though you care about the person. Because you let so much time go by, you’re now afraid your friend will be mad at you. The longer you put it off, the harder it is to reach out” — Shannon, 2017, p. 24

I don’t relate so much to this as being The Pleaser or afraid they’ll be mad at me but more so that yes, the longer I put it off, the harder and less likely I am to reach back out which then triggers some shame and anger and frustration and loss and continues the cycle. For me, it’s more of an issue of “right timing/right mindset”. Waiting for that “perfect” window of time.

ย 

So at another point in time of this book, we are shown various root belief trees that work against us and for whichever type of procrastinator we are and then the adjusted new belief tree that could take place instead. I’ll spare you the perfectionist negative root belief tree and just tell you it happens on p. 37 and was super duper profound and on point, for my experiences at least. Okay, I’ll give you ONE example from the tree: “I shouldn’t start unless I’m sure; I’m clear; I’m confident.”

For the Warrior’s tree: The root belief is “I must feel motivated” with a relevant tree branch for me being “I’ll wait until I feel like doing it; I’ll feel more like doing it; After I do this” — Shannon, 2017, p. 41

Yeeeeep, this is accurate to my experiences!! Waiting until I feel motivated or in the right frame of mind has gotten me to avoid many, many things.

“Tools are only powerful in the hands that use them, and you’ll need to be motivated to use them. One of the ironies of a self-help book about procrastination is that anything the author asks the reader to do is by definition a task” — Shannon, 2017, p. 53-54

Thought this was nice, true and useful. That you can learn all the tools and be educated all upon them but if you don’t wield them yourself and practice them and try them out, then you’ll have only learned abstract concepts with none of the reward or benefit that would actually take place if you utilized them. Kinda like recovery, in many ways, you have the skills and knowing them is half the battle or at least a quarter of it, and now it’s up to you to continue to use them the rest of the time!! That step is only one YOU can take. No one else. Hmmph.

So, here’s an important thing this book continued to highlight for me: Around the section about procrastination pros and cons lists to figure out what is it that’s holding you back (procrastinating) and what values you have going forwards with action (owning the task and moving ahead; Shannon, 2017, p. 62) it reminded me of how people, meaning well, tell me over email or text sometimes or online like “No rush on when you can respond.” I do horrible with this!! It automatically gives my mind “permission” to put it off for as long as possible, forget about it day in and day out and eventually maybe respond back with something etc after it’s been literal MONTHS. Gah, I know it’s a polite thing to absolve some of the responsibility but gwah it doesn’t help me at all! Just gently remind me of it with a check-in or two at a later date but don’t tell me to get to it whenever I can, because I’ll just never do! It happens EVERY time, I swear. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜จ๐Ÿคญ

Along with this, my therapist June tends to challenge my own self-imposed deadlines too and how in the larger scheme of things if I don’t get it done within that time frame nothing “bad” really happens but this just gives my brain the excuse to never, ever get it done in the future! Grrrr. Like how this review is only now existing months later since I finished the book or began writing it. Ugh. I hate it.

ย 

On owning the task: “A quick source of motivation could be to ask yourself, Will completion of this task bring me more [independence] than putting it off?” — Shannon, 2017, p. 64

For this example, it’s mentioning a great little shortcut to reap the rewards from weighing out the options inside your mind. If the goal is more independence, more human connection, more authenticity then asking the question could then provide a snapshot of reasonability that gets you from being stuck and paralyzed to up and going. For instance, the accompanying image for this section was a woman holding a job application in her hand and imagining herself working as a barista at that job–so visualization of the goal’s outcome helped her to decide yes, I DO want this other reward down the line which makes not procrastinating right now important to me.

“…Because doing things wrong is a great way–sometimes the only way–to learn how to do things right” — Shannon, 2017, p. 69

I personally believe and appreciate and love this sentiment in all of its degrees. Sometimes getting things wrong provides more of a learning potential than always getting it right! And experience is so important, so don’t be too afraid to make mistakes! Someone will try and uplift you when you do (and you may get others who don’t, but that’s life! We can’t always agree with one another and it’s important that instead of slinging insults, we disagree respectfully and maturely.)

Within the page of letting new beliefs set in, the new tree is just SO magical and amazing (for the perfectionist). The new root belief is ‘I am willing to make mistakes’. Some of the relatable branches are then transformed into “creativity requires mistakes, it is more important to get started than.. to be sure, than to be confident, than to be clear-minded. If I make a mistake, I can handle it, I can learn from it” — Shannon, 2017, p. 70

It’s truly everything I ever needed in a fictional tree yet concrete visual fact. ๐ŸŒฒ๐ŸŒฒ๐ŸŒฒ๐ŸŒณ๐ŸŒณ๐Ÿ’™

“Practice holding the new root belief in your mind while allowing the old belief to play in the background like a song you’ve gotten tired of.” — Shannon, 2017, p. 77 >> The new belief needs to be nurtured and grown just like how the old one was and it won’t automatically happen yet with hard work and patience and self-forgiveness, it IS possible. The brain is quite malleable, honestly. Shannon also encourages that “the old belief will still continue to express itself so don’t try and quiet it.” Instead, you could practice some mindfulness and allow it space to exist and be and then do the opposite action regarding it (so not procrastinating ahaha).

“What we forget when stuck inside the procrastination cycle is that avoiding and distracting ourselves from negative emotion is counterintuitive because all emotions have a beginning, a middle and an end. ..They don’t last forever. And you can handle them” — Shannon, 2017, p. 81

What I like about this quote in particular is that it is SO critical regarding emotions. Emotions at the end of the day just want to be felt and experienced and while they are SUPER uncomfortable at times, allowing 5 mins to sit with them is better than over an hour or multiple days of dealing and feeling and mucking around in them because they’re too scary or uncomfortable. If you can even just experience them for a few seconds at a time and then longer periods of time, that will lessen the extent of the burden they will otherwise present upon you and me. So feel them, to feel them! Allow them space and then you can cope through the rest of them. That initial ride or die is so crucial.

“Emotions are like ocean waves. You can try to resist them and be slapped down again. Or you can learn how to ride them and get things done. How much more could you accomplish if, rather than avoiding unpleasant emotions, you rode them like a surfer does a wave?” — Shannon, 2017, p. 82

Does this quote not just open up an amazing amount of possibilities? ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿคฉ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿฅฐ

[[Okay, I am back again to completely finish, edit, turn back in (the book) and publish this post. I’ve got this!!! == 2.9.22]]

Here’s a great list of ways to prevent smartphone distraction for overcoming procrastination of challenging tasks:

  1. “Go to your settings and turn off all notifications, alerts, sounds and vibrations. Or switch to airplane mode (the Focus page on iPhones)
  2. Send a group text to everyone important to you saying something like ‘In the next 90 mins I’ll be working on X, and won’t be available’
  3. Store your phone in a place beyond your immediate reach, perhaps in a drawer or better yet, in another room” — Shannon, 2017, p. 90

“By sticking with your Beat the Clock time limit, you will also be preventing burnout. If you keep working until you are done, even if you feel motivated, you can become physically, mentally and emotionally depleted. It can color your experience, making the next doable more imposing. It can also reaffirm the idea we must never stop working unless everything is done, which can turn any task into drudgery” — Shannon, 2017, p. 107

I thought this observation was particularly interesting!! Once again, not everything has to be done in black and white terms or all or nothing so keep celebrating every small win and every step of the way towards accomplishment! It’s about the process, not the outcome. When you set a 5 minute or 10 or 15 minute time limit for yourself to work on a task, when the timer is up, honor it and keep with it, give yourself a break and do something else rewarding or fun for a while then come back to it! You’ve got this. Things don’t have to be done ALL at once, even if we’re told otherwise by society. It’s okay to break it down into smaller steps and have little achievements all along the way (instead of building a giant mountain from the get go, climbing all of it and getting back out the other side, if we do this too often with tasks, we just avoid, avoid, avoid and the mountain gets bigger and we get a little more like spaghetti in response. So, break it down!!! [[Okay, super unexpected circumstance but this is now me with this review as well! I am in no way finishing it in my allotted time BUT I will still get it done. I’m returning the book very soon and checking it back in, heading home and finishing this review. Is it perfect? Gwah, no, not at all. It is what it is though! And it will still get done. So, for that, I am glad]].)

For the perfectionist out there:

“The perfectionist must be comfortable with mistakes. Does this mean you need to be happy with the mistake itself? No. It means you won’t let mistakes get in the way of your happiness” — Shannon, 2017, p. 124

As a perfectionist, this really rang true and important and critical for me. I don’t have to like that I make mistakes, hell, I can be very uncomfortable with it, and I also can’t let it get in the way of how I do manage to otherwise achieve my tasks and get going towards my goals, dreams and wishes for the future!!! ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š

Again, again, again, for perfectionists:

“Focus on the doable part of a task instead of the end results to allow yourself to more fully live in the present moment and decrease your stress and anxiety” — Shannon, 2017, p. 141

Love this, love this!! It’s about the overall message not how loud it was shouted or the depth of pain behind it. An outcome is an outcome, the process is what wins. As long as it gets completed, how “long” it took you to get there, if you’re there, you’re THERE and that’s what matters. Keep going!!


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THOUGHTS AND IDEAS I HAD WHILE READING:

  1. There was a friend of mine I found on WordPress that does a bunch of Lego Ninjago fan fiction stories and they messaged me about a year to a year and a half ago and I always meant to write them back but never did… I should reach back out to them! Or follow some other fanfic blogs that exist on this site!!! ๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค
  2. Sometimes if I can make the simplest tasks into Youtube videos, I will because A, I get content out of it and B, it gives me accountability and gets me motivated and on target to complete the task so it’s a pretty nice win-win situation.
  3. I really, really need to update some of my fan fiction. Sigh.
  4. Reminder that when feeling emotions: Breathe through them. Allow them space. Allow them presence. They may change into another feeling or another form of feeling it in your body. Allow it. Don’t fight it. The more you resist and fight the longer they stay around (the quicker you sink). — Shannon, 2017, p. 84 ((About riding the wave of emotion!))
  5. I wish I could watch a movie as a reward to completing tasks… I’m thinking of you, out there, Thor. Sigh. Maybe one day soon…. I cannnn say, I watched an awesome horror movie a couple of weeks ago that I plan to review on here soon and that was really great and got the gears churning again, yay!
  6. I haven’t completely yet but I should totes do some photos uploading to my computer, deleting through eh okay ones and preserving the best ones, make more live stream announcements and so on as well as take a few more baths!! And do more Insta posts…. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜Š
  7. Whenever I film videos or do live streams in my bedroom, I’m always putting up the chalkboard sign I have that says “Filming in Progress” or something to that effect. To be honest, I’m actually not 100% sure how it’s phrase. Maybe a “Do not disturb, Filming in Progress” Huh. I’ll have to check on that later. [[It’s “Recording in Progress” huzzah!]]
  8. Also, also, productive procrastination is still totally a thing!! Where you, like myself, might be avoiding or putting off putting away clean laundry, if you do reorganize your whole dresser because the clothes are a mess and you’ve also been putting that off, now you’ve accomplished ‘productive procrastination’ even if the main, initial goal, wasn’t achieved completely! At least, I remember reading about this phenomenon years ago. Maybe it’s changed though… Hmm
  9. So there’s a great segment in this book about how the tools to overcome procrastination and set new root beliefs HAVE to be practiced over and over and over again, and have to be done through willingness to change and the ability to make mistakes and not always ‘show up fully’ to take on the game–like having shown up AT ALL is a major step and should be celebrated instead of I showed up AND I won the whole game and participated in the after party. Like, all the small steps MATTER and deserve to be celebrated, which is really huge and important, I think, as well. (Shannon, 2017, p. 97)ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย  Personally, for me, this reminds me of how I have to be going forwards about my fan fiction stories. Every little bit or scene written out (even if completely out of order and it’s chaotic), is still something and worthy of being included and figured out at a later date, as necessary–meaning, even if it’s going to take some mental gymnastics later to figure out what to put where, it’s all small steps that achieved a larger goal which was to write a chapter so, again, worth it!!! Better than nothing!! Additionally, I *AM* choosing tonight to be the night that I watch more of Thor if not completely finish it, depending on how things go. I’ll do 25 mins for sure, and depending on my attention span, time and other things I’ll see if I can completely finish it tonight or set off the last half hour for another day (tomorrow). So yeah! It’s taken a LONG while to get here but I think I’m finally, finally there. Phew! (I’d also say partially hearing about the current Spider-Man movie, Wanda and what’s setting up for Doctor Strange 2 and Morbius from a co-worker at work totally helped yesterday to make this final push in the right direction because I’m basically like, for myself: ‘I’m tired of putting off this whole universe I love and admire and adore so it’s time now to stop being silly and just get back into what I love’ So there’s that!! Little by little!! Once this review is edited, completed and uploaded I will work on my Iron Man 2 review! Huzzah!! PROGRESS
  10. “Between each “foothold” (each step of the small goals to complete) Emily could relax a bit with something more engaging for her, like playing one level of a video game or chatting with friends. And as each part of the task was completed, the more manageable cleaning her room would appear” — Shannon, 2017, p. 98ย ย ย ย ย ย  >>ย  What I like about this quote here is that celebration of each bits of progress! For instance, what’s helping me the most now the last couple days I did this review is to listen to positive I Am affirmations in the background. It just really helps to get my head in the game and be getting through it and also tuning in and out sometimes of what is happening via the affirmations video. I’m also at the library now and that’s doubly helpful. And I’m ready to be done with this book entirely so I’m excited and far more motivated and in the moment than usual. Speaking of, I find that nowadays when I do photography that I like having music playing in the background. It keeps me grounded in some respects even if I may not be fully fully in the moment, it just kind of anchors me and makes for an even better fun time too! Yay! I guess, whatever works right? Also, I think it’s a great version of ‘Me time’


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MY EXPERIENCE: WHAT KEPT ME READING & THE BOOK’S IMPACT ON ME:

Definitely what kept me reading this book, no matter how much time went by and how long I procrastinated on it for, was the fact that I knew I was going to get something out of it. Whether conceptual, concrete-ual (i.e a blog post) and actionable, I knew I had to finish it. Maybe that’s just because of my own rules or because I did enjoy it and it was a simple read, I guess we’ll never know for sure, you know? But I enjoyed it, overall. It was a good book. I rated it well, it wasn’t the MOST BIGGEST EVER LIFE CHANGING book yet it was still a very good read and I got stuff out of it. If I had procrastinated with it less, it probably would have ranked higher. It was a great little sneak peek into literature on the topic so I do, once more, encourage anyone out there who has read similar types of topics to mention them in the comments and I’ll include you in a shout-out post in the near future.

Overall, I think I learned a few things and I hope this review was something after all!! First real post of 2022 and it feels a little strange, yet probably everything that is my life at the moment. Like me at work when I’m always late for my COVID tests: I showed up, and that’s enough. It might not be on time, it might not be ‘perfect’, but I’m here, I’m there, and that’s what counts. Process, not the outcome.

Until next time, folks. See you on the other side!!! xxx


THINGS I’D LIKE TO CHECK OUT:

  1. New Harbinger Instant Help Books SERIES and also just a list of books can be found here.
  2. “Overcoming Procrastination for Teens” by William J. Knaus
  3. “Get Out of your mind and into your life for teens” by Joseph V. Ciarrochi, Louise Hayes, Ann Bailey
  4. “The perfectionism workbook for teens” by Ann Marie Dobosz

Next up….

Nonfic: “Slow” by Brooke McAlary

Fic: “Shut Your Eyes Tight” by John Verdon


TRACKING DATES AND TIMES I READ THIS BOOK:

11/18/2021 (very late evening), 11/19 (afternoon), 11/20 (afternoon), 11/29 (noon-afternoon), 11/30 (late evening), 12/1 (late afternoon), 12/3 (late evening), 12/11 (late afternoon), 12/14 (late morning), 12/30 (very early morning, noon), 1/6/2022 (mid-evening, late evening), 1/8 (evening, late evening), 1/9 (noon to completion.)

TRACKING DATES AND TIMES I WROTE THIS REVIEW:

1/10/2022 (later evening: 9p), 2/6 (late evening), 2/7 (late afternoon actually early evening), 2/9 (late afternoon, early evening, evening).

“Quiet Influence” (2013) | BES: June – Aug. 2021


CHOSEN BOOK:

“Quiet Influence” (2013) by Jennifer B. Kahnweiler PhD

The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference; ((nonfic))


TRIGGER WARNINGS:

None.


THEMES:

Introverts, introversion, leadership, exercises, self-improvement, Quiet Influence Quotient, open-ended questions, self-discovery, evolving, not changing your personality for your workplace (like becoming an extrovert), skills, guidance, hope, strength, weaknesses, self-help, feedback, business, face to face contact, body language, tips and tricks, end of chapter highlights.


SUMMARY:

Have you been feeling like an underestimated team leader because you tend to be a little more quiet, don’t earn your energy through the people around you or like to sit in quiet (not always complete silence, a trip to the library or nearest cafe works too!) for some “me-time”? If any of this sounds familiar, you may be working in an environment and society, let’s be real, that seems to value extroverts over introverts. BUT this book is here to tell you that you CAN lead, you CAN be a big player changing the game while STILL being YOU.

Maybe trying to change who you are isn’t working out for you–and WHY should it? You have excellent amounts of strengths as you are today, in this moment, just by being an introvert. In this particular nonfiction book, we are guided through the talents, the wise words of advice and the potential growth and understanding by fellow introverted leaders to spark our own creative juices and tackle situations and our leadership in a new and improved way. This book follows the six main quiet influence strengths singularly in depth per chapter with end of chapter questions to help get those cogs in your brain churning and working in the best way possible FOR you. This begins of course with a test and quantifying your current day, present moment quiet influence quotient. At the end of the book, we revisit it and reassess and you can wander off on your own with new insights, new knowledge and hopefully an updated approach to leading the world forwards.ย 

The following strengths are as follows: 1. Taking quiet time 2. Preparation 3. Engaged Listening 4. Focused Conversations 5. Writing 6. Thoughtful Use of Social Media

Per this review, we shall be reading my own answers to the end of chapter questions (I picked out the main highlights to cover via text and if you’re curious and can decipher my handwriting, then you can gleam some bonus content out of them, too!), along with a couple of the graphs I made before reading and after reading this book about my QIQ points themselves. I’ll take you through step by step as well as interpreting some of my handwriting as necessary and we’ll finish off this review through the final following sections. As such, let’s begin!


BOOK LENGTH:

162 pages


MY RECOMMENDATION SCORE:

3/5


OUTSTANDING QUOTES AND IDEAS:

  1. “Being silent provides energy (for introverts), increases self awareness and spurs creativity. Introverts return to quiet time frequently in order to recharge and reflect” — (Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 19)
    1. I found this quote to be very true of me and especially when I drive alone with music on my iPod in my car haha. Although I have become more talkative and use music a lot more now but this will be expanded upon, Quiet Time, later in this review. ๐Ÿ˜€
  2. This is more of a concept piece but I did find it interesting and helpful to read over the advice on people watching/people observing to get better at identifying and being more aware of body language cues, nonverbal cues and so on. The author suggests watching others in a public setting like at the grocery store and so on, although I’m sure it was easier without masks back then, but even so, it makes me want to research more on this and do some more reading on the topic and such so I appreciate that and that it doesn’t have to be this HUGE project, it can be something simpler etc. Plus checking in with people to assess whether I’ve assessed them correctly will also be impactful. For now, I’m mainly practicing it via videos or movies, which is still helpful!! My biggest struggle is that I take in the cues but I am not consciously aware of what they mean or what I should be doing about them or the gut feelings I’m getting from those cues. I’ve definitely gotten a lot better with it but it’s still something I have a hard time with. (Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 29)
  3. So, I thought this following quote was pretty powerful and fitting enough to highlight in this review itself. I just think it’s hard hitting and it made me think of a few content creators I watch on Youtube and reminds us all that our presence and how we react to situations does have a lasting impact on others and we can either wield that for good or for evil. I don’t know, it seemed significant and something worth noting and gleaning from everything else in this review. What do you think?ย ย ย ย  “When you use your quiet time for calm reflection, you get to know who you are. You become more self-aware when you take time to allow your thoughts and feelings to emerge. You can assess your motivations, tap into your values, recognize your strengths and address your weaknesses. Keen self-awareness means that you can make better choices about how you influence others and react to others who try to influence you” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 38
  4. Quiet time doesn’t have to be pure silence. There’s such thing as “communal solitude” where someone can take in the energy and atmosphere of hearing or being around others in a calming setting, for instance a library or a cafe. Individually people are doing their own thing and together it can provide such a unique ambiance and soothing settlement of feelings and getting work done. I was glad to see that QT doesn’t have to be just silence and it’s something I explore more of in the exercises portion where I list out my favorite spots for QT and getting work done. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜„ (I’d also like to capture this focus and comfort in my fics regarding Loki, particularly in D&D)
  5. “(perspective from an Introverted leader) ‘I don’t think I have the brains to come up with a lot of the stuff I write. Thoughts just come out of nowhere. And for me, unless I write–until I write them down–they keep coming up over and over again. And the minute I can write them down, they are gone and then new thoughts surface in my mind'” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 45
    1. I really, really found this quote super relatable in terms of how I approach my own creative writing. He talks about how if he tries to force himself to write he gets majorly stuck and it’s only when he’s in that creative flow just letting it stream out of him that he finds as much success in quiet time. Again, I could relate to this when either I’m blogging sometimes or if I’m writing my fan fiction stories. So, I thought that was particularly cool and something I’d share with you guys, too!!
  6. ย “[The ideas in quiet time that emerge may be brilliant] yet if they remain within you and you do not move any of them into action, they remain just that: ideas. Millions of books remain unwritten and innovations continue untapped because their originators stayed in quiet time instead of moving out to share these ideas with others” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 46
    1. The reason I wanted to highlight this particular quote is because I find it super, super relatable and important. I’ve done this soooo much with my own projects (blogging things) or creative projects and ideas and book ideas and such and it’s just a super helpful reminder that action is a necessary, expected step and if you don’t get out of just the idea and waiting for perfection to execute it, you’ll likely never do it or life will get in the way first. So yeah, maybe I should be brushing up on my old recovery art projects soon. That would be exceptionally lovely. ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜Š Do you have any projects you’ve been neglecting that you could work on soon? Share em down below!!
  7. “How much introspection is too much introspection? Keep this helpful phrase in mind: ‘Look back but don’t stare’. When you realize that you are simply recycling the same thoughts and not learning anything new about yourself, it’s time to stop the mental music. Getting stuck in self-analysis can plant you too firmly in the act of dredging up the past” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 47
    1. If you carry on towards the next section of this review, you’ll find that I posed this question about when is it quiet time vs when is it rumination so having this quote spelled out so clearly was super helpful for me and really helped me to better conceptualize the ideas within this book.
  8. “Avoid exhaustion and burnout by knowing your limitations and enlisting the help of others….. Asserting yourself when you need help goes beyond even saving time. It also shapes others’ perceptions of you as a proactive influencer who challenges the status quo when things are getting off track” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 64
    1. I thought this was a particularly helpful and important assertion to focus in on in this review. I’ve definitely strayed away from this in my work at Amaryllis, but it is super helpful and important to remember and live by!! Even just the reminder is helpful. Don’t let your pride get in the way if you need more help!! If you try it out some time soon, I will too. ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™
  9. “You will never be able to find all the relevant facts, you will never be able to predict the success of a change you propose, you will never know for sure what will stand in the way of challenging the status quo. Perfection is a tough goal to reach, and you don’t need to have all the facts. Shoot for 80 percent” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 66
    1. I thought this to be a very interesting quote and conceptualization I wanted to highlight for this book. I definitely get soooo caught up in waiting for perfection that I freeze or get anxious and then things never happen or I start off well, lose focus or motivation or proper time management, and then I struggle with getting back on track. So I thought this was important to highlight here. I find it relatable to my online presence as well as Amaryllis, and it may be a leading factor into why I’m considering moving on from Amaryllis, potentially. But, that’s a whole other discussion and informational catalogue I don’t have at the current moment.
  10. “When you make a commitment to research a concern and then actually get back to the person with your response, you increase your credibility with that person and other people they impact. Building credibility is a process that happens one intentional action at a time” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 77

    1. I thought this was particularly interesting, engaging and important! Engaged listening is so, so, so important and there were some great tips in this section of the book that I thoroughly enjoyed (you’ll have to take my word for it or find the book for yourself!!). I really want to do this more than I do because again, I tend to have these images in my head of me doing these things but never fully actually doing them in reality, so if I can improve on this and work through it, that would be amazing and maybe even extend my reach to those I come into contact with! Yeeee.
  11. “When you are a great listener, people feel comfortable talking to you. They may continue to talk on and on, rehashing the same ideas without getting anywhere. It is, however, difficult to solve a problem when the only person talking keeps talking about the problem and not the solutions. As the ‘listener in chief’ you need to make sure that person you’re listening to does not become a ‘venter in chief.’ If you don’t ever ask questions that move toward solutions, you enable others to stay stuck in the problem” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 86
    1. Hi again, thought this was pretty critical within the psych and mental health community and support groups and such. Reminds me of my dear friend Gretchen quite a bit. She can really self-depricate and put down herself when just introducing a question or answer to something someone else has stated that makes it hard, for me, to fully hear out her point of view. Like, her low self-confidence is glaring in how she talks badly about herself and this could be a questionable way of credibly leading in a scenario like a support group. I also think that working with people in a support group is tough because we have to learn how to cut off when it’s just unhelpful venting vs problem solving and finding a path through it as well as how we prepare our group members to the idea that ‘Hey, if you need to go, say so, don’t feel guilty and stay longer than you need to and here’s a few ways you could approach this, etc.’ Like, people always say if you need to go that’s fine, but it’s never shown HOW to do so which I think makes it that much more likely people pleasing or self-sacrificing to a harmful degree can happen and lead to more upset feelings that no one says anything about because they’re so low in self worth, low in self confidence and are being passive. Just been something I’ve been noticing lately…
  12. “You need to verbalize your idea or proposal so that people know how to engage with you. If you remain silent, that never happens. In order to inspire others to move forward with your idea, opinion or advice, or to bring about a change you want to see, first solicit ideas through observing the situation, asking questions and listening to the responses. Then take the next important step: state your unique point of view and opinion and share your compelling vision. The world deserves to hear it” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 87
    1. Obviously doing this within the healthy amount of boundaries and when it’s asked for, although I think we’re all a little guilty of giving advice or input when it wasn’t necessarily asked for. But yeah, overall, you could lead and make an important impact with people if you can offer your opinion as something else for them to consider, even if they disagree with some of it or parts of it or all of it, you did your part and that can count a lot. Sometimes we’re so blind to the situation ourselves that having another person’s fresh eyes and story involving it can help so, so much.
  13. “Many people share stories about a teacher, parent, friend, boss or random stranger who encouraged them in a focused one-on-one encounter. This kind of individualized encouragement can have a deep and lasting impact, influencing the very direction of a person’s life. It is often the catalyst for provoking a new way of thinking and encouraging someone to move forward to take action” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 93
    1. This description really reminded me of the conversation I had with a friend in Feb. 2018 that really did change the course of my life thereafter. I don’t really remember a whole lot from it but it was so impactful and it’s what got me down a better course of recovery thereafter, so for that, I’m endlessly thankful. It was someone from the Mass Media while I was writing for the newspaper at uni. And also other instances as well. ๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ”ฅ๐ŸŒˆ๐ŸŒž
  14. ย “When done well, the process of writing develops a depth of thinking and authenticity that jump off the page and can deeply influence others” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 111ย ย ย ย  >>> Thought this was especially eloquently said and something to highlight here in this review. We are starting to wind down to being finished with this post, only 9 more flags left!!!
  15. “Writing helps you to gain clarity about what’s important to you and what you think and feel about situations. When you put pen to paper, or fingers to the keyboard, the words often flow as if they are writing themselves. You’re able to release and better understand strong emotions like anger and resentment–feelings that may cloud the clarity of your thinking that you need to influence others. You can then merge your passionate feelings with logic and clarity” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 112
    1. I thought this was especially nice. I think this may be why I enjoy writing logs at Amaryllis so much. It helps me to process the day’s work and what went on and any issues that may have arose. I could probably serve to limit or trim them down though, to be honest!! Still, it’s an important skill and one of the few areas at work where I excel. Thanks, writing!!
  16. “Sometimes jumping right into the written word when advocating for your position can have serious consequences. Be sure to check out your assumptions and talk to key people before hastily writing out and sharing your position in what becomes a permanent format” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 124 >>> If this isn’t a big enough warning sign for going on’s online or over email or anywhere else written down via text… I’m not sure what is. I definitely have to practice more of this myself. I hope that you do too, whoever you are out there, Reader. Be careful out in The Void–whether it’s in videos, blogs, tweets, stories, etc.
  17. “Ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish through your social media activities. Are you trying to change the world one click at a time? Do you want to initiate conversations to get feedback on your ideas? Are you trying to spread your message to large audiences? Do you want to attract clients, sell products, or position yourself for a new job? Who are you trying to reach: a few of the right people or a lot of the general public? Once you answer these questions you will have a better idea of how to channel your online efforts” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 138

    1. I think this such an important, important thing. I think once I developed a routine of things, and became severely inactive in a lot of my social medias over the years, and just with time away from them, I’ve really, really forgotten what it is that I’m searching for or after or am trying to accomplish. I have to really sit down with myself and have a discussion on this soon. Try to re-formulate things and maybe things have in fact changed and decide how I’m going to change with or without them. I think I need to make peace with the ways I used to make and use social media and maybe make room for the newer, future ways I want to channel and travel with them. Mmm, a lot of soul searching to do, for me.

END OF CHAPTER PROMPTS/EXERCISES:

  • All right, we are kicking off the image sharing with this post above!! This is the messiness of all the math I had to do, and have been seriously, seriously declining in since being out of college ahaha. I took the quiz in the book which is the first scoring section in Part A. Part B I catalogued together the averages and what they meant at the far right corner. And Part C I made my graph based on what I understood of the beginning strengths overview (which wasn’t much, let’s be real, and you’ll see this at the end, too) andddd yeah, that’s all I got. Crediting: Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 23 // Completed June 23rd 2021
  •  So originally I was only going to do Quiet Influence for one scenario, work (Amaryllis) but even then I had some doubts and also wanted to cover online presence as a second one, which after a week or so I wound up caving in and doing a separate one just for that on a small piece of paper (as you can see above). As for this Amaryllis based one, here’s some but not ALL of what I wrote down:
  • AMARYLLIS: Q1, Describe a situation that you would like to have more influence? Amaryllis I want to step up to the challenge of running routine more, being a more prominent leader, managing difficult situations with more grace, direction and patience, coming up with activities and being listened to as a staff.
  • AMARYLLIS Q4, What actions or behaviors have you tried thus far? What results have you seen? Avoidance, laziness, apathy, unhelpful stuff. Inspiration, motivation and ideas to create and improve. Taking charge in small moments or preparing so even on days off to build confidence.
  • AMARYLLIS Q6, What skills could you use in this situation? Preparation, taking quiet time.
  • ONLINE PRESENCE: Q1, My online presence, in particular Youtube and WordPress.
  • OP: Q4, uploading more frequently, playing with length of videos, networking with others more, making new friends, being involved in others’ work
  • OP: Q6, Thoughtful use of social media, quiet time, focused conversations or engaged listening.
  • Amaryllis notes: 6.23.2021 evening; OP notes: 7.14.2021 evening
  • —- Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 30-31

  • So in the next chapter of this book, in the section just on Quiet Time, I did this first (left picture) thought rundown and run through of what I thought QT would be for me and the different ways I’d define it as (activities) and how having this written guide can help me moving forwards. So, for the first 3/4 I define some of those aspects like listening to music, creative writing, blogging, video making, engaging online with others, reading a book etc. On the bottom of the page I asked myself some key questions: When does QT become rumination? Does QT have to be only in silence (nope!!)? When is QT underused? (Overuse is something answered later in the chapter) When is distraction over used? How do I balance being “on” with being “off”? For that final question, I find myself wandering and getting super distracted with Youtube or it’s the biggest source of my procrastination and I feel like when I’m watching countless videos that I can be “off”, I can be relaxing and just “enjoying myself” without any real work put into place, instead of something like blogging or reading a book, etc. I don’t know, I thought it was a good question to have… — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 36
  • The right handed picture is probably the easiest prompt answered in this entire book ahaha, for me at least!! Q2 Where can you go without distraction to reflect and plan? What activities provide you with good reflection time? I answered: the library, cafes, sometimes my bedroom, outdoors (between the lakes, porch, gazebo etc.), in the car (driving), early in the morning (when few are awake), listening to music/ambiant sounds, making art, sitting in the quiet. — Written down 7/12/21 morning, evening. Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 49

  • All right!! Welcome back to this section. So, this is the photo I have for Chp 5, and I’m going to list out the most relevant questions and answers here. I was working with two scenarios of influence: Amaryllis and online presence. So, Q2 I answer how I manage when I don’t prepare ahead of time, and how effective as an influencer I am when I don’t prepare and what could be done differently to prepare: Winging it on second shift for activities is definitely pretty hard. For first shift, it’s also tricky because I don’t tend to know what building I’ll be in with what group of children, so I could prepare all I want and still be unprepared regardless. So that’s something that stinks with this job, because I don’t have a predictability going into it. Then again, I might not somewhat at a newer job either.
  • In terms of this same question for online work: I could use guiding notes for videos to center myself or a quote or two. If I am working with a video, I can always take stuff out later in the editing process. So, there’s more room to prepare and achieve productive and satisfying results. Whether that’s in the creative filming or the creative editing
  • Q3 – What steps could you take to prepare for your influencing challenge? Would you benefit from a written plan? How and when are you going to follow through on these aspects of preparation?
  • Amaryllis: I think writing out scenes and stories for work to help mentally prepare myself for what I might walk into would help. Like visualizations that no matter what I’ll manage and it’s only for one shift. Written plans would help, for sure
  • Online: Same as outlined in the question above.

  • All right, so this is on the subject of Engaged Listening. Q1, How did someone who truly listened to you impact you? What engaged listening skills did they have? How can you use EL to influence someone else?
  • At Amaryllis, I’d say in supervisions/monthly reports, my bosses have given me great advice or metaphors to reframe what next situation I’m getting into, etc. I could continue to use my own forms of EL with metaphors and paraphrasing
  • For online presence, a few new friends I’ve made on Youtube have been super helpful and I could use EL with more validation, questions and problem solving.
  • Q3: How can EL help your situation? Could EL help you develop empathy with a person involved? What could you listen for to learn more about the situation?
  • Amaryllis: Just listening for more feedback and observing the skills and techniques of others and adapting my position to enhance and be improved upon.
  • Online presence: EL online can be to validate more and rephrase and be open about behavior I see that’s healthy, positive and brainstorm alternatives to unhealthy, negative behavior. For me, knowing when to educate and when it’s not necessary to respond (hate, trolls). I could speak more from my own point of view and “I” statements and owning my feelings.

  • ‘Ello!! This one is a little different but I figured that taking a picture of this example breakdown of the AEIOU skill would be the easiest way to convey it and get you guys an additional look inside this book. It’s not a perfectly flawless example or outcome, maybe some re-wordings would benefit both parties, but I thought it was still a really great example and something to dig one’s toes in a bit more. Let me know what you think of this down in the comments!!

  • Okay, this is the chapter questions for Focused Conversations. Let’s jump in!
  • Q1: Reflect on a focused conversation with someone in your situation that moved you forward. How did the conversation help bring a solution into focus? What can you learn from that experience to take into other FC’s?
  • Amaryllis: When my boss reframed that my shifts with the baby are only a few hours and getting through it onto the other side, I get to go home and live my life and get to be away from campus. This reframe was very helpful, realistic and life affirming
  • Online presence: Probably online interactions through Youtube, FFN, AO3, blog. Getting feedback and working towards new results and new alternative situations (vid editing). Even just being validated and respected. Offering feedback and check ins.
  • Q3: How can you learn from others in your next dialogue? Think of a pivotal story or anecdote you can share to illustrate a central point related to your influencing challenge?
  • Online presence: For online besides fanfics, I should work on more new metaphors, scripts like with IOOV’s, video condensing and so on. Metaphors and visceral situations grounded into tangible experiences helps.

  • All right, all right, we’re almost done with this review now. I’ll just have to finish a couple last sections, this section and then reread it all and edit and then I should be posting it the same day as the final day that I worked on this entire review (8.27). As for this image… this is the last FULL question/answer list I did although it wasn’t the final two. But I’ll talk about that more below. For now, this one focused on the writing skill.
  • Q1, Identify a piece of writing that has either challenged you or inspired you in the last month. Which aspects of it can you incorporate into your own writing?
  • Online presence, I definitely think online fanfic related reviews have inspired me to see the influence and impact I have and am making. Carrying this into my stories would be crucial.
  • Q2, what opportunities exist at work or home to refine your writing skills?
  • Amaryllis, Definitely reread and getting an idea of other people’s logs helps and how I can reframe what I write. Becoming more succinct and logical/formal will also help
  • Online, At home, continuing to read others works and stories will help a lot. Just being more open to others will help. And joining writing groups or forums could make an important difference.

All right, I’m definitely winding down now and it’s almost time for dinner so I am going to do that next after I finish this section and then work on a couple of blurbs for the last section and then end this post, edit it and publish it, whoohoo.

As for the Chp 9 material, I never answered those 3 questions so I am not going to share a photo of that but once I DO finish it one day, I’ll make an update post/separate post linking back to this one, just on it. That’s the plan. There’s also the next photo I’m going to share with 2 questions left unanswered that I’ll update again later but for now I have the updated graph (slightly messed up though, oops) and the two new skills I can try and work on the most from here on out.

So, without further ado… Here’s that final photo for this post.

So all I have officially completed for this picture above is the graph section. I messed up on the graph actually and tried to fix it but it didn’t totally work. The QT should be all the way up to 10 on the scale versus preparation only being up to 5. I need to work more on those two skills: preparation and thoughtful use of social media.


THOUGHTS OR IDEAS I HAD WHILE READING:

  1. Books are great friends. That’s it, that’s the message. ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜š
  2. No context for this page flag but I love trains and the ambiance and soothing nature of them as well. Wonderful playgrounds of productivity or resting!! ๐Ÿ˜„
  3. Exercise can be a great set of recharging the batteries, for me trying out video games on the Switch like the boxing one or the Fit thingy or Just Dance would be really great and perfect!!
  4. I find breathing exercises or trying to pace breathing and things when I’m upset to be particularly difficult but I have found a few other ways of self-soothing around it that isn’t as direct but still seems to help (ironically I mentioned it sort of in my cardiophile blog post; I basically just trace my veins at the backs of my hands, particularly my right hand, and that helps to just ground me and calm me down. If I tried to use deep breathing it just doesn’t seem to help and frustrates me more. But the veins thing helps. I’ve noticed I do it in videos sometimes now too and it’s only been in the last year that I’ve really started to as well. I hope to mention it in a video some time soon. ๐Ÿ˜Š)
  5. Here’s a concept in this book that I liked but I think it can suffice itself well enough in this section: It talks about how becoming TOO attached to the visualization process of us planning to see our good outcomes occur in the future can be problematic because we get inflexible and too wedded to our ideals and ideas of things that haven’t actually occurred yet. It also says how life has so many variables and it’s not something that can be guessed super easily. So yeah, I thought that was helpful and interesting, in the workforce especially. Sometimes what happens for me, is if I see myself doing certain things so much, I almost vicariously live as though they happened, even if they only happened in my head, and didn’t become reality. I definitely have a work, Amaryllis, related regret about that unfortunately. Oi. — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 48
  6. There was a section in this book that talked about setting up work spaces early for meetings or spending some quiet time alone to recharge before facing these situations and I thought it was super memorable for me when I was President of the Photography Club at uni. Hahah. It was a nice reminder!!
  7. There’s another concept in this book that talks about even if you are someone who is long-winded and talks a lot, having a ‘short version’ of your pitch or request or story is super duper helpful and it’s something I want to continue improving and working on going into the future with my videos!! ๐Ÿ˜€
  8. “A powerful tool for influencing people is silence. Often, a person will talk themselves out of a wrong decision without the listener saying a word” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 78 >> Thought this was super interesting and can be quite true sometimes!! Sometimes just listening does wonders. Make sure to ask what the person needs or is looking for to help them out the most!! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‰
  9. “[Bracket Distracting Thoughts] Do you ever find your mind wandering to what you didn’t get done, what you’re making for dinner, or the fact that you need to call your Mom–all while you are trying to listen to someone else? Such thoughts block your ability to really hear the nuances of what the other person is saying. To improve your attention, take those thoughts and imagine placing them in brackets where they can stay safely tucked away while you really listen. They will be there for you when you’re ready for them” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 81 >>>> I feel like in theory this is a fabulous idea, but at the same time I don’t think for someone like myself whose memory is shot to the heavens and I forget if I don’t do it right then and there, this would be very, very tricky. I can maybe try writing it down on scraps of paper or something but yeah, trying to just assume that I’ll remember later means I probably won’t. If I don’t write it down I’m lost. Even if I do write it down, it’s likely I’ll be writing it down again because I forgot I already did or the idea repeated itself again. Even when I just said something, I’m not paying attention with what I said when so I can’t even recall then either. Unless it’s recorded somewhere or in text, forget it. But, maybe trying this paired with some writing will help… Hmm. Worth a shot!!
  10. On p. 82 There’s a great example of how students that feel comfortable with their professors in uni can sometimes reach out for indirect help and get pointed to the necessary and right sources of help and input, and that greatttttly reminded me of my time in uni and some of the professor’s I reached out to that helped me immensely through my recovery. I’d love to do a video some time of getting indirect help from people and such. This portion of engaged listening really had me going down memory lane for a bit which I didn’t mind entirely. I remember I reached out to my abnormal psych prof, and my learning and memory prof who at the end of the semester emailed me and told me how much grit it took for me to get through the semester, something I’ve always, always valued since then. I don’t know, I don’t think, I ever responded to their email but it really did stick with me. I think I even forwarded to my business email so I could probably find it and uncover it again. But yeah, that was super relatable for me and something I wouldn’t mind sharing or discussing at greater length online. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜™
  11. “When you see or hear mismatches between what is being said and how it is being said (body language), ask a question to bring focus to the disconnect” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 84 >>> I thought this was some great advice and still continues to be something I want to learn more about and look into and quiz myself on and get better at. ๐Ÿ˜…
  12. “‘And now whatever way our stories end I know you have rewritten mine… Because I knew you, I have been changed for good'” – Quote by Steven Schwartz, composer, Wicked — from Chp 7 Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 89 >>> I thought this was a wonderful little quote and really cute! That’s all. ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿคฉ๐Ÿค—
  13. A book I’d like to check out as mentioned in this book: “The Drama Years” by Haley Kilpatrick, founder of Girl Talk.
  14. Eyebrows can be very expressive body language cues. So, look out for those more in the future!
  15. The loudest voices being the most heard and all other opinions falling to the way side is definitely an instance of intense group think. Reminds me in some ways of some of the support groups I’m going to. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜’
  16. Something I definitely notice I do more and am such a stickler about is fixing typos or rewording things and spending the time to edit so I can come across as succinctly as I want to and polished and fresh. Times where I don’t always make me face palm and I regret it later. Oooof. I really work hard to comb over everything I write to make sure it is clear and I’m making sense and I fix up any mistakes. It definitely means more work but eh. I try my best, and sometimes I still get typos! That’s okay!!!
  17. [about giving people handwritten notes] People touched by the attention, they will often hold onto these symbols of recognition for years. Writing makes it official. Some recipients have told [specific person] that glancing at these little confidence boosters helped them get through some rough days at work. The permanence of the written word means that these mementos can motivate people to action again and again in a variety of situations” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 116-117; >>>> I loveeeeee this type of thing myself!!! I love things with people’s handwriting and really cherish them very much. I have so much of that type of stuff all in and around my bedroom. I also love this type of thing can be maybe felt by others that have my handwriting or cards or little art pieces and can apply on a larger scale to pro-recovery art projects. I should really go about sending another round of them at Amaryllis. It’s been a lonnnnnnnng time!! I also think it’s just a wonderful random act of kindness too. Costs nothing to be kind! Well, maybe sometimes it costs haha
  18. This book also covers, on p. 120, the importance of using visual mediums to support large walls of text which I can definitely get behind as well, I just added 3 gifs to this post, but I should have waited because now my text is taking too long to buffer appropriately which is severely annoying. Guess I’m doomed for the rest of this post. Eugh. But yes, thumbs, videos, gifs, images, all helpful, helpful stuff. Good tips for blogging!!
  19. “When you regularly use content found on social media, you become more aware of what works and what doesn’t, and this knowledge will help you improve the content you put out there. You will get used to the appropriate length, tone, pacing and format and become a better editor of your own material” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 141 >>>> I really, really look forward to this for my Youtube channel one day ahaha I guess the more I work on it and the more I take tips and techniques from others, the better I’ll get at it, one day!!

MY EXPERIENCE: WHAT KEPT ME READING AND THE BOOK’S IMPACT ON ME:

I actually elected to take out the Critical Corner section of this review because I’m tired and I’m ready to just be done with this ahaha. I’m just running out of steam and I think I can do without that section and write this last one and then take a small break and reread everything, edit and then finally be free to hit publish. It’s getting late for a Friday for me and I have work all this weekend that I have to be okay with and deal with and such, but I have a lot of fun upcoming week things going on so I’m excited and I hope everything goes okay!!! I’ve just procrastinated for so many weeks with this one book that I just can’t wait to be fully done with it. Then on Sun, my plan will be to drop this book and OA off at the library, it’s further away, and then for sure I’ll be fully done with it, not having to look back other than maybe a video on this book in the future or those final two question/answer prompts.

I definitely don’t think this book was AS impactful as TAoCL but it was still pretty decent. It wasn’t a terrible experience and it did get me thinking a lot and I think I got the most out of the QT section and the FC I think it was for kindness stuff and recovery art projects and then maybe the thoughtful use of social media and engaged listening.

I cannot wait to start my next few books, I really haven’t completely yet so it’ll be so refreshing and nice to even spend just 20 mins tonight getting involved in the next best thing. Who knows, they may be even BETTER. Well, that’s all from me for now.

Other final thoughts regarding this book involve:

Engaging more with my audiences across platforms. Also, structuring tweets for my vids like how other people could get stuff out of it or what’s in it for them (personalizing a video more towards what can be found in it versus the nitty gritty numerical details/how I was structuring them before), is a new change that came from this book. No idea what page though. I just remember that.

Overall, it was a decent book to read and it didn’t have any real major issues. It was short enough and nicely laid out so I’d give it a whirl if you’re another introvert out there!! Best of luck and I will see you guys soon. XX

Thanks so much for being here!!! Stay safe, my friends. xxx What are you reading next?


My next books to read are….

“Dear Life” by Rachel Clarke (nonfic) and “Hazards of Time Travel” by Joyce Carol Oates (fic)

And then maybe after these, “The Audacity to Be Queen” by Gina DeVee or “Imagination” by Jim Davies (both nonfic)


TRACKING DATES AND HOURS OF TIME I READ THIS BOOK:

6/18/2021 (late afternoon), 6/19 (early afternoon), 6/22 (evening), 6/23 (late afternoon), 6/24 (early evening), 6/27 (late afternoon), 7/6 (early evening), 7/7 (late morning), 7/14 (early evening and late evening), 7/12 (early morning), 7/15 (late afternoon and early evening), 7/26 (early morning, mid-morning and noon), 7/29 (late afternoon and early evening), 7/28 (early evening).

TRACKING DATES AND HOURS OF TIME I WROTE THIS REVIEW:

7/30/2021, 8/2/2021, 8/9, 8/23, 8/24, 8/27,

“Once Again” (2020) | BES July – Aug. 2021



CHOSEN BOOK:

“Once Again” (2020) by Catherine Wallace Hope

((fiction novel))


TRIGGER WARNINGS:

pedophilia, crime, substance abuse, murder, preying on children, suicide, grief, assault, abduction, language, “crazy,” drug overdose, PTSD, depression, gaslighting, narcissism.


THEMES:

Grit, overcoming adversity (again and again and again), strength, time lines, time, time travel, quantum physics, alternate universes, pain, emotion, hope, light, meaning, psychological thriller, keeps you guessing, cooking, very descriptive language, quotes, parts (part 1, 2, etc.), healing, (group) therapy, flashbacks, mathematics, time stones, memories, consciousness, simulators, Colorado, what if chances, paving into a new future, change, detectives, medical scenes, black holes, white holes.


SUMMARY:

Hi hi, the summary for this book is tough for me because I want to talk candidly about what the story as it unfolds is about but I don’t exactly want to give it away either! Ahaha, SUCH a problematic pickle!

Either way, if I start off the review vague but get more specific in the Critical/Questioning Corner, it’s because I’m grappling with these decisions. Honestly though, I LOVED this book. It was such a good read. I definitely still struggled with my re-reading and having to go back at times because I couldn’t remember things (for instance, by p. 120 I was angry trying to figure out who Aidon was lmao) or things that I thought were one way turned out to be another way, etc. Overall though, I pretty much devoured this book in a few long sessions, which was super nice and wonderful!

Something I haven’t been able to do in a long time. It’s a complex read in terms of the quantum physics, alternate time lines and all the consistencies and confusions that arise from the popular and well-explored in movies (especially lately–I’m looking at you, MCU) time travel components, the makeshift of the science fiction involved and the tang of creativity that envelops it all.

There is betrayal. There is the darker sides of humanity. And there’s a mother who will stop at nothing to save her daughter. I should probably explain…

So, the story focuses on Erin Fullarton and Zac Fullarton, parents to the six-year old child Korrie. We start in present day where it’s June 2021 and slowly and gradually learn that the shell of what is left of Erin is because of the intense grief and pain that came with losing her child. We don’t find out right away how this happened exactly but it is revealed later. Zac is working on some time and physics type of thing where he has created two time stones, one as Erin’s wedding ring and a second a year or so later. He begins to spend his day in the ‘Clean Room’ of his workplace on the kinda anniversary of Korrie’s death; as time begins to shift and present itself, Erin is forced to realize that what she could potentially prevent is within her hands and only something she could do (she tried, valiantly, to get aid but it didn’t come readily, unfortunately).

She decides to put her everything into changing the story that her life had took a dark turn in.

We get the perspective a few times from Korrie’s killer, the icky yucky pedophile who–ooof, his chapters were particularly disgusting. Hated them. Hated him.

There’s also the Detective from Korrie’s case and that is tied up nicely at the end but I’ll leave it there for now.

Erin faces a LOT of adversity throughout this book–trying to get people to understand the gravity of what was happening and that things themselves were repeating and people treating her like she was “crazy” for it, etc. She realizes some of the pattern with the time shifts–one minute it’s summer and the next she’s stepping into winter. And when the simulation that Zac is running falls into the abyss, she recognizes that too. There’s a whole section I could talk about but I’ll say this instead:

This story will keep you guessing all the way through. You’re going to get pissed off, elated, enthralled, interested, sometimes bored (sorry, for all the physics talk! But, they lighten up, too!), wondering what certain things have significance, confused at all the time travel and how things are happening but then jumping so far aboard that it’s just natural and where the writer wanted to take us with this story that needed to be told. It’s such a gripping book. Every time I started to celebrate Erin’s wins–another thing impeded her path. “No!” I would internally shout. “You were so close!”

This book had a great balance and instances of things looking up, then going down, then looking up, then going down. It reminded me, towards the end of the story, of a video game I’m playing on the Nintendo Switch: “Journey of the Broken Circle.” Very similar I’m finding (in the sense that the story line paves the way from when things are seemingly at their most hopeless, there’s still a way through and out the other side to better times, better life and better health.) This book has a lot of those themes too.

Ultimately, the last thing I’ll say is this: The ending and those final scenes were so poignant and wishing to be captured, frozen in time as they were, forever and always. For time to retreat backwards without memory, with repetition and with different details… I don’t understand quite why they were different details, was it just the universe that was at play or did something change within the intervals of the waves on the simulation, it’s never quite explained but maybe it doesn’t have to be. Things are different and yet similar and surprising and then just are. They shine with the possibility that only having read the book’s prior pages, knowing how certain events unfolded and fell apart, only then could you appreciate those small changes that made such a different outcome. The ways it was described was very thought-provoking for me–that little bit of wonder when you take a moment to think and realize right then and there in the present day reality: how could this event unfold next? What if I acted on this thought now? Or what if I never did? What would change? What led to what? What would be different?

Time is an elusive beast. The universe works in strange ways. Maybe that we’re all here, for however long that is, is all that matters. ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿค


BOOK LENGTH:

276 pages


MY RECOMMENDATION SCORE:

4.5/5


OUTSTANDING QUOTES OR IDEAS:

  1. I love the way Erin in her grief is described in this book, particularly in the first act. Hope uses the metaphor and theme even with Erin’s husband and it’s such a magical little callback. I found this part particularly captivating and relatable at the start of the book: “{Erin is considering and getting ready to make some muffins} Did she even know where the whisk was anymore? And with that, she was overwhelmed and could not face it. There had been a time when she could have put muffins together without a thought..now she couldn’t handle the idea of even starting them” (Hope, 2020, p. 11)
  2. The pain of the grief that not only Erin has felt from the shock waves of Korrie’s death, but the fact that Zac was isolated in his own is rocked even harder and with more intensity in this description here: “The other Erin, as he’d begun thinking of her, the one who’d replaced his wife, this lifeless Erinesque version who had appeared when the love of his life was sucked into the void…When Korrie died, Erin departed without him for regions unknown” (Hope, 2020, p. 16)ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย  Personally, I found this was very relatable and how I tell the story in my fanfic “Distorted & Disordered” (to be fair, quite a bit of this book reminded me of D&D but I think a couple other fics were also on my mind too).
  3. When the story behind the nickname is revealed of how Erin and Zac called Korrie, it’s just so breathtaking. Like, she’s in the midst of a dream and consciousness and just the way it was written, thinking she’s lost her Korrie from when she was just a fetus, remembering the bump and then not feeling it, looking for her in the blankets, damn it’s powerful writing.
  4. I’m pretty sure this was unintentional but the commentary for those who are suffering from severe or even just mild or moderate mental health conditions was something that needed to be said. For Erin, in an impossible situation, she was painted to be “crazy” or a “lunatic” or “losing it” etc. That her grief had made her go “out of her mind.” We know, as the Reader, that this is not the case. But we’re powerless to stop them from feeling and judging her so harshly. I think, also, when she’s trying to get help from other people who immediately dismiss her because of her intense grief, her intense depression and her just overall struggle from her mental health because her daughter freakin’ died–that commentary, that “other-ness” is such a strong stigma in place in our real life and society as a whole. It paints the very real picture that “just because it’s all in your head” it’s not valid or real or true to you etc. Or that your whole identity is that “illness”. Or that you’re somehow “wrong” and “broken.” These are disastrous ideals because we know that mental health conditions recovery is a process, a journey and there’s no one way fits all. Hope is out there. Help is available. You deserve to have nice things, to live a happy and fulfilling life and you can if you decide to still be here and choose life. Recovery is possible and we’re here for you. Sorry, side rant. Compassion, empathy and understanding can go a very long way. Validating doesn’t mean agreeing!!
  5. Another super relatable, emotional and grieving point of the book was how Erin described her feeling lost and broken after hearing the first news that no one knew where Korrie was: “In the time that followed, people kept introducing themselves… Erin fell apart and pulled herself together and fell apart again. People gave her drinks in paper cups and handed her tissues and patted her shoulder. And yet nobody managed to do the only thing that mattered: find Korrie” — (Hope, 2020, p. 89)
  6. This next scene is so horrendously and marvelously composed that I just have to share it with you all. It fits so perfectly into this story, it definitely belongs in it and the grappling of time and understanding amongst the confusion is so on point: “[Erin] dreaded the idea that she might stand where he had stood, where he had discarded what he stole. But perhaps if she were to stand there in winter before he did, she could find a way to undo what he’d done before he did it” (Hope, 2020, p. 130)ย ย ย ย ย ย  It makes so much sense, it gets us to where we need to go, it fills in the gaps and at the same time it’s almost insignificant. Truly fascinating.
  7. At one point, ending a phase of the book, Erin struggles with realizations and the questioning nature of time and its happening in a perfectly described token of: “She couldn’t understand how this had happened. Now she had no idea where she was, or rather when she was, or what to do, but she knew she had to get back, back to where she’d been” (Hope, 2020, p. 141)ย ย ย ย  To me, it felt totally wild and even MORE adversity. The adversity and the odds were truly stacked against her and her family. This book is a RIDE.
  8. There’s something so remarkable, fitting, human and true in the following scene: “(Erin to Korrie) ‘You have to keep talking. Let’s do a story.’ Korrie: ‘I don’t want to, I feel bad.’ E: ‘The trick is to keep going, no matter how you feel. That’s how it has to be.'” — (Hope, 2020, p. 217).ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย  To me, it’s just something so striking, this scene. Erin’s fight and will to survive and thrive and do everything she can is super admirable. She doesn’t give up even when she has those moments where she considers it. Even with how much of a mess she is at times, she still fights. That’s amazing. It also again reminded me of that Switch game “Journey of the Broken Circle.” And really just life in general. (Which I can relate to very much right now with my physical health, as you get older ailments don’t seem to come individually wrapped but rather altogether to test your resolve. Bleh. ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜–)
  9. What I really love about the way things ended in this book is that vague, distinct thought or phrase or almost memory that something had already happened before, something in another future, another place, that a perspective had been made and even though it came through distantly thereafter (fragmented in some cases, somewhat whole in others) it was a little glimmer of what once was even if it never became anything. I don’t know, just thinking about how these gut feelings at times or these conscious dabbling scenarios could hold so much more significance in a different time line is just fantastic eye candy to me: “As Erin stood, a feeling illuminated within her, the sense that she had the strength to take on whatever might lie ahead of her. She couldn’t know what the future was, but she knew she could rise to meet it” — (Hope, 2020, p. 255).ย ย ย  Again, I just thought it fit so well with the ground covered in this story and then was also just so mind-boggling, fantastic peeks into detail and yeah. A memory of what once was even though it never came to be.

THOUGHTS OR IDEAS I HAD WHILE READING:

  • Legit, I have no context to understand this now but early on in the book there was a scene that reminded me of this really great horror movie I watched on Netflix, I’m gonna pull up the name here: “Before I Wake” (2016) Something about how the story line in that movie went and how it’s relatable and similar to this particular story, I’m thinking specifically how the mother in the movie kinda uses her foster kid to purposefully see these tangible rehashed memories of her first son (who died) and how in this novel there’s that tangible aspect first going back in the past (so that Erin was back when Korrie was still alive and how she related and touched and could feel the very realness of the bedroom around her, in such stark contrast to her present day time line) and just… yeah. I don’t know if I explained that right or if it even fits here now having gone through the story but I think that’s what I was thinking of. That just holding on to what once was even though it’s no more (or wasn’t for a while). ๐Ÿ˜Š
  • Shout-out to any other cardiophiles out there: this book has a pretty good plethora for them in case you’d like to read it and also be in for a great story! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿงก๐Ÿงก
  • The way Erin reaches out to the next person she can think of that holds power in the situation to help alter or change the line of events that the first three quarters of the book presents, and that she’s told she can’t be helped and that there’s something wrong with her and just overall abandons her…. yeah, that reminded me of Luna a lot.
  • Hah! I did think of “This Would Be the End” fic at one point! Hah, I knew it!
  • Probably one of the coolest things about this book was seeing the way I write Loki in my fanfics being mirrored back to me. Like, I could so relate to what the author was conveying and the depth of which she did (though not completely, I may add) and the ANGST involved and the pain and grief and also see how I’ve achieved or already done and am continuing to do similar themes and cases of writing within my own fics. That’s cool. That’s nice. So, it works? Hahaha
  • I do love that the betrayal we witness in the majority of the time line DOES get brought up and addressed and it’s SO cathartic to hear Zac’s POV of it (the book is all written in third person regardless)
  • Calling time mischievous reminded me so much of Loki. I wonder how Loki and the TVA described and told a story with that (time, memory)… Maybe one day I’ll actually catch up with all of the MCU… We can dream, right?
  • It’s funny, there’s a green page flag where I wrote possible scenarios (three of them) of what would happen later in the book annnnnnnd none of them occurred. Ahaha, the ending/the conclusion was truly a surprise!!
  • There was a scene in this book, maybe because I had already been thinking of it in some videos I filmed prior, but Erin describes the old mill building and how it’s “derelict and shoved against the rock of the mountain” (Hope, 2020, p. 139) and it reminded me so much of another book I read called “Ash” Though I don’t remember the author or if I even have the review of that published online. ๐Ÿ˜—๐Ÿคจ
  • There were some great glimpses of thoughts, peeks into consciousness and thoughts the characters were having mixed in with their assessment of the world around them that I really, really liked. It made it more tangible and real to me, I think. Also reminded me again of my fics
  • For some reason, I thought the zip ties were white….. They were black.
  • It’s funny because towards the end of the book when there’s some medical scenes, I realized why it was so familiar, it’s because I had done similar types of scenes in my D&D fic haha So that was nice to see that research in someone else’s head!
  • There’s this really neat part of the story where Erin is thinking about how she’s going to explain the things she has done and how in the world she was going to convince anyone else that they had happened, this list of an outcome from multiple time lines–is just a nice reminder of how I write in my fics when I haven’t written in them in ages and I have to get a better picture and grasp again on the character and where they’re at with things hahaha (So, like often I’ll write a few sentences on Loki’s history laid out in the movies because I need to remember who I’m working with! Haha)

**At the end of the novel, our author shares that she read a particular book to help her understand and explain loop quantum gravity and it’s definitely something I also want to read and check out, here it is: “The Order of Time” by Carlo Rovelli


CRITICAL AND QUESTIONING CORNER:

More of a questioning corner but there was a point in time of me reading the book where I thought the power behind the time stones would prove too great and the money-hungry gaslighter would try to get involved and Zac would have to destroy the stones in some manner for the good of all mankind. Didn’t shape up like that though but hey, maybe a fanfic idea? ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜› I think that also makes sense why it never is quite panned out like that because when time does that weird thing it does and snips out certain details and changes others, then what the book ends with that Zac studies isn’t the same as what he began with. So, there’s that.

Another Questioning Corner thing: I was very, very surprised to learn that, at least never completely written in whichever time line or any time line, that Aidon didn’t sexually assault Korrie. That, to me, was something I was expecting but there’s never the autopsy that pointed to that and such. But just the way he would describe Korrie and kids in general… Eh, I’m not convinced he didn’t try at one point of a time line.

Critical Corner! Maybe just a statement but I feel like with the detective’s story line that the guy is just WAY too hard on himself. We find out some understanding of this later in the book but the dude is just mega struggling and has a lot of cop PTSD and is just so, so unhealthy in terms of how he handles his cases in the sense that he’s not taking care of himself and beating himself up for things he couldn’t really control or had very little power or play in. It’s sad to see. And it’s also sad to see the stigma that he notices from his peer cops when they treat him differently and ostracize him. Also, it sounded more like mini heart attacks than PTSD/anxiety attacks but maybe that’s just me.

Critical Corner but it’s more of another commentary piece I don’t know where else to put: Aidon is SO dislikable. The dude is so narcissistic and arrogant and pompous and says a lot of fucks and just ugh. He is SO unsavory. He has SO MUCH audacity and just, no. No. *shudders* Brava though for Hope to pull this off. It really sounds like a different character/person/identity set different and apart from all the other characters. Nicely done.

Questioning Corner: I wonder if the question of time erasing itself, of the universe unfolding in a way that couldn’t be anticipated, I wonder if that being brought up explains why things were so different in the later time line. I honestly don’t know but it’s an itch in my mind I can’t scratch. From my understanding, everything in the adjusted time line had changed even what the original feedback had been before, the original carry out of events, so time corrected itself in that instance because it didn’t leave any room to be born again in the same way it was at that juncture. Hmmm.

Critical Corner: I don’t know this for FACT, but I found it odd that the EMTs would ASK Erin whether there was any neck or back trauma to guide them whether or not to give Korrie a brace and not just put one on themselves. Like, normally in shows we always see them just go do it just in case and it was odd to me that they’d ask her rather than just go with their gut and do it. But I guess…


MY EXPERIENCE: WHAT KEPT ME READING AND THE BOOK’S IMPACT ON ME:

I’d say for this section, the best thing I cannot harp on enough is the fabulous, dedicated and highly descriptive language and portrayal of this story through the author’s eyes and fingers, as it were. She takes you on a mystical ride, deeply colorful arrays of the science that can sometimes be too science-y but still breathtakingly understandable when explained a little further. Like, to me, she just rocked it. I found words I didn’t know and feelings I hadn’t come by in a while. It was a great type of distraction read for me too, because sometimes I went to it when I was feeling ill physically and mentally. Just being lost in someone else’s story for a while and to see all the triumph after so much hardship was genuinely inspiring. If her writing was this good and she continued on for another 100 pages, I don’t think I would have minded that at all–it wouldn’t have been a chore.

Another great thing I want to highlight about this book is that hidden clique experience where as the Reader we know far more what is happening, we have that inside scoop and a look into all the characters involved and there’s just something so magical and captivating about that. I know it’s run for the mill, par for the course, but it’s still nice to know certain things, even when the main characters don’t and we’re yelling at them to listen to us! Hahha, it just makes it more real, you know?

I’m personally experiencing a lot of physical pain right now but really want this post to go up before I get checked out so I just wanted to say, thanks so much for reading this post! It’s a truly beautiful story and I hope it sticks with me. I think parts of it will for sure. My next fic book I’ve decided will enter another time travel one so I’m excited about that and to learn more about these things… maybe I’ll understand them one day and carry them through further into my own writing haha.

Well, thanks so much for everything. Again, I hope Erin’s wit and her charm and her perseverance are something I remember from this book. And the strange ways the universe works and the fascination of the human memory and mind. Thanks again. See you all soon. xxx


My next book is….

“Why Don’t You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It?” (nonfic); “Hazards of Time Travel” (fic), then when I finish WDYW, which I will it’s less than 100 pages with illustrations–I’ll begin (as of the current plan) “The Audacity to Be Queen” (nonfic)

*Next upcoming BES is for a nonfic I read called QI.


TRACKING DATES I READ THIS BOOK:

6/28/2021 early evening, 6/29 late afternoon, 7/29 late evening, 7/30 mid-evening, 7/31 evening, 8/10 mid-evening, 8/11 early morning and early evening, 8/12 early evening, 8/13 mid-evening, evening, 8/14 late morning, noon, early afternoon.

TRACKING DATES I WROTE THIS POST:

8/14/2021 (early evening, evening, late evening).

“It’s Your Funeral” (2020) | BES: Apr-June 2021


CHOSEN BOOK:

“It’s Your Funeral” (2020) by Emily Riesbeck, Ellen Kramer and Matt Krotzer

((graphic novel))

BES 5 -- Apr. - June


TRIGGER WARNINGS:

Not applicable.


THEMES:

Purpose, death, afterlife, bureaucracy, case workers, art, body language, emotional expression, mysteries, unanswered questions, meaning, life, bitterness, emotions, scathing retorts to interpersonal relationships, letting go vs acceptance vs holding on, getting better, living again or for the first time, ghosts, multiverse, inter-dimensions, imagination, hard to pronounce names, pronouns, teenagers, the “voice” of the characters, fear of abandonment, miserable outlooks, not giving up on someone, aliens.


SUMMARY:

Marnie Winters is dead after her chair blew up and killed her and now she has to deal with an internship in a case worker’s alien bureaucracy to help other ghosts like herself cross over and have their files closed. She goes through the process of trying to identify why she is still there, and not in her own dimensional destination within the multiverse of universes, as she grapples with the new alien co-workers she’s met and has to live alongside in her afterlife, while also questioning if they’ll really be there for her because she’s far more used to people abandoning her and forgetting about her. Marnie struggles with her emotions and how she handles interpersonal relationships as evident throughout the graphic novel. She comes to learn about her main case worker X’lakthul (Xel) and her related co-workers and learns how to approach other ghosts and the circumstances around her afterlife position through the internship in training and then actual field work.

Marnie learns, most importantly, at her experiences within the Department of Spectral Affairs that life and the end of life takes time, healing requires time and effort and not giving up on someone and that acceptance is a powerful force and we have to meet people where they are at in their journey, not where we think or want them to be at based on our own experiences.

This graphic novel is an emotional read with funny light-hearted moments and endless depths of meaning, existential awareness and the legacy we are choosing to leave behind as we follow our lives from this existence into the next one. It is a timeless read that can help improve the lives of anyone it comes across. I hope that you will enjoy this review just barely scratching the surface and peeking into what it has in store. Many thanks, xxx


BOOK LENGTH:

200 pages


MY RECOMMENDATION SCORE:

4/5

๐Ÿ’Ÿ๐Ÿค๐Ÿงก๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ’Œ


OUTSTANDING QUOTES, IDEAS OR IMAGES:

  • BES5 -- Img.1
  • As stated here on my green page flag, I’ve written: The emotion/power conveying through these images is so amazing and, this is C’tharla and I already loved her early on ahaha. ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š
  • BES5 -- Img.2
  • Of the above image, I really, really just loved the perspective captured here between Marnie and the educational video for her new internship position (lead by Xel) ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜…
  • BES5 -- Img.3
  • For the above image here, I absolutely ADORED the way the light play was done. Just the attention to detail that the video recording would project onto the screen was so wonderful and refreshing, I found. Especially for me because I never include light and shadow in my work ahaha. It was marvelous to see it done SO right. This is Xel, or X’lakthul our main case worker working with Marnie and helping her through her ghostly life. ๐Ÿ˜Šโคโค
  • Luckily, for me, p. 59 really redeemed itself in my eyes for why I wanted to read this book and what I was looking to get out of it, so that is nice! I really enjoyed the notion between Dev and another caseworker, Marnie in tow, towards a ghost that there was no rush for his file to be closed and that it was going to take time. Additionally, that “we’re all in this together. But if we gave up every time we were frustrated, we’d be doomed from the start” (Riesbeck et al, 2020) I really, really loved that message. It was SO poignant to me and really highlighted something important that I could gather from this book and keep with me, hopefully tightly because it’s so relevant for my life!! (I’m looking at you, Avoidance!). Just wanted to highlight that in this review. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿค๐Ÿค๐Ÿค
  • p. 60 involved a nice breath of mindfulness where Jose (the ghost), Dev and V’qttyr take another moment to choose to watch the boats pass by on the river because there really isn’t a necessary rush and it’s okay to take a moment sometimes, just for you. ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜Š
  • BES5 -- Img.4
  • My page flag, I believe written in pencil here, says: “I do just love the illustration of existential awareness here.” It was very, very well done, in my opinion!! ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™ (p. 71)
  • Another detail I enjoyed out of this book was the dialogue boxed squiggles when Marnie was being silenced/muffled by Xel’s hands over her mouth ahaha. So, instead of a straight line off the speech bubble, her speech bubble main “line” was just a squiggle instead! Like a snaking squiggle, so to speak. A little squiggle with an edge of personality to it ahaha
  • I feel like my number one favorite scene in this entire book happens, unsurprisingly with C’tharla, on p. 93 when C’tharla is explaining to Marnie that “[C’tharla] has to be the one to tell her employees to care less. That [she] has to be so cold so that Xel can be so warm. This job (she tells Marnie) needs coldness as much as it needs empathy or it would suck us dry. The greatest good for the greatest number” I just absolutely loved this scene and it took SO MUCH care and beauty and challenge and understanding from me. It absolutely made sense and it was just so wonderful I had to share and highlight it in this review (because god knows I shit on this book in the critical section haha!) I just thought it was so powerful and it really humanized C’tharla and made her character have that much more depth and purpose. It’s just beautiful to witness, I feel.
  • My next favorite scene that I think defines, or should arguably define, this entire book is this: “[C’tharla telling Marnie] A third of our clients will succeed no matter what we do. And a third of our clients will fail no matter what we do. The last third.. that’s where you can make a difference. That’s where you have to focus your energy…” [Marnie:] “Which third am I?” [C’tharla] “That depends on you.” (Riesbeck et. al, 2020, p. 94-95).
  • The above section is just SUCH a powerful scene, even more so with the images of the body language but yeah like, it’s amazing. That is the biggest thing sticking with me and I’ll focus on it when I consider my recommendation score for sure. Like, the empowerment that is channeled here is amazing and the determination that that part, if nothing else, is up to you, like, oooof, chef’s kiss. I’ll probably even mention it in the what kept me going section of this book and its lasting impressions on me. ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿคฉ๐Ÿ˜ญ
  • The above image takes place on p. 126 and is really, really something I loved and adored about this book. Xel validating Marnie in the sense that Marnie cannot understand why people wouldn’t give up on the hard cases (like how her life was while she was alive, at least to her perspective) and instead would want to fight through hell and back for people (that wasn’t her experience in life) and Xel’s words saying it’s because these people are WORTH the effort, is just all sorts of emotional, heartwarming and hopefully inspiring. I thought it was worthy of mentioning in this review, myself. ๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’™ They’re worth it. You’re worth it. And so am I. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ญ
  • I would like to say that before the concept is brought up later, on p. 139 I was even thinking that Xel was necessary to let go of the box she had placed Marnie in and instead work with her with where MARNIE was at rather than attacking the problem and the issues Marnie was having in only Xel’s point of view and point of reference. It felt to me that Xel was pushing for something that maybe Marnie didn’t even want anything to do with and that was something I was hoping Xel to come to realize on her own (as a Reader, I’m powerless) and luckily she did. I just noticed here that I was hoping for this resolution and I’m glad to say it was reported on later. Sometimes we have to let go, even when we want to hold on tightly and forever. Not necessarily to abandon but to allow for extra space to regather our thoughts and adjust our approaches. ๐Ÿ˜Š
  • The above image, from p. 143, shows an increasingly pissed off Xel after Marnie jabbed at her roughly regarding how she handles her job and isn’t very good at it. YIKES! She is literally seething and I LOVED the display of emotion here. Not only just within this particular photo but the lead up and drop off after (she just takes a deep breath and re-centers herself) ahaha
  • I liked this quote in particular from King Tut’s ghost (I imagine if I were still in school, like traditional school ages of middle to high school, I would have better understood this reference and information, but since I’ve been through higher education and left that for a while too, I really don’t remember much if anything at all of King Tut ๐Ÿ˜…) where he says, on p. 150: “Mine was a life wasted. For three thousands years I have sat idle, as helpless in death as I was in life” There’s just something so somberly beautiful about this concept that I HAD to highlight here. It really speaks volumes to me.
  • (Once Marnie tells King Tut his true legacy he laughs and says…) “I suppose I feel silly. For spending so much time worrying. And I suppose hearing it made me realize that it really…doesn’t matter. Knowing [my legacy] doesn’t change what I did in life or what I’ve been doing in death” — Riesbeck et al., 2020, p. 153

  • The emotional and wave of acceptance of these simple facts was just SO much of a relief and a wonder to experience as the Reader, for me at least. It was just so beautiful to get the chance to witness. That in the end either being remembered or being forgotten, in the grand scheme of things, didn’t really matter. It didn’t change what was or could have been and there’s something just so magically empowering about that. This book does have some fantastic sprinkling of messages, even though it didn’t live up to my full viewpoint of potential. It could have been so much more yet… what does exist is still at least worthy of telling. And overall, it sent its message and I was receptive to it. It’s not without faults yet it does have its beauty, too. And amazing artwork at that as well. I probably won’t pick up a graphic novel again for a while but it was nice. It took me a while to get into it or stay in it but it was nice when I was in it.
  • The motion achieved and captured here was just far too astounding to not include. I love it, yay! Riesbeck et al., 2020, p. 154.
  • I thought it was powerful the way Xel wanted Marnie to get better no matter what the cost and the ultimatum that was offered to all the characters in that moment. So heartwarming and lovely, I found.
  • “It’s a process. You’ll get there someday. But give yourself time. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself along the way. Celebrate the wins, even if they’re small” — (Xel) Riesbeck, 2020, p. 198

  • Wise words to live by and take from this book above if there’s nothing else you read in this post (but if you do read it all I send you a gold star and some glitter (virtual glitter, so no mess!) along the way and thank you very, very much for your time, attention and gratitude!!) ๐Ÿ˜˜๐ŸŒŸโญ๐ŸŽŠโœจ๐Ÿ’– Remember these few things: time, effort, healing.

flight-of-ideas-bes-thumb-2.19.21

THOUGHTS OR IDEAS I HAD WHILE READING:

  1. Probably the nicest thing and also the most surprising thing that I got out of this book was inspiration and motivation for my own novel in the works. By p. 13 I was already adding new notes onto my iPod for my novel, for an improved and new ending, for the main characters to “end as they began” and a few times throughout reading this book I did in fact work on my novel. Noteworthiness was the fact I worked on my novel for about 2 hours just from getting inspired on p. 13. So that was very exciting. ๐Ÿ˜Š
  2. Attention to detail is definitely something this book really shined in doing, and speaking of shine, I absolutely loved the sparkles in each alien character’s/case worker’s hair!! Particularly C’tharla’s, who was honestly my favorite character to begin with ahaha. But Xel was great too. ๐Ÿ˜
  3. p. 16 with its “comes to pass” phrase reminded me that I should try and work on my own fanfic “Come to Pass” very, very soon. For fanfics, I’ll most likely be updating these guys soon: ALU, CeC, D&D, S and TAaBBT, AUS
  4. At the beginning of the book, on p. 28 where Marnie is attacking and threatening angrily towards Xel, it’s definitely her depression coming out on the attack but I wondered to myself why Marnie necessarily had to attack Xel’s positivity because that optimism can so often come from a place of having known pain. ๐Ÿ˜“๐Ÿ˜”
  5. For a while, and maybe this is to show the change and pay off for Marnie later in the book, but for a while I feel like she chooses to isolate herself and be miserable instead of being open to embracing that while love does hurt and is painful, it can also bring her much peace, understanding and patience. Again, maybe it’s to highlight later how she changes her mind about her predicament, it’s just a bit tough to work through in the beginning, and tough for me as the Reader to give her that time and space to figure it out on her own (there’s a helplessness involved and also I really DID feel for Marnie and I cared enough about her story that I wanted to find out what happened, regardless of my stance in the next section. I did care for Marnie and I wanted to love her and in some ways I did, it was just complicated and a roller coaster getting all the way there, but I’m glad I stuck it out, even if I felt the ending was underwhelming and rushed.) Back to this review though!!
  6. This is ESPECIALLY highlighted on p. 64 where Xel is talking about having patience to Marnie and I realized I maybe needed to have more patience for her, myself, too. I was hoping she would redeem herself in the coming pages (and she did, for a while, until going backwards and then being in a cheesy ending, ahaha).
  7. The chapter where Marnie has to learn how to speak with the character Carol was something I could relate to (Carol seemingly speaks gibberish and unclear English) because the supporting characters tried to give tips or experiences they’ve had with Carol that helped them learn about Carol and how to communicate with Carol, but it turned out their stories had little resolve to complete Marnie’s questions and one of those characters tells her that it just takes time and is something that Marnie will learn on her own. For me, personally, this reminded me of work at Amaryllis and having to learn and build a rapport with each kid and any tips I manage to gather to help with that process, particularly with the nonverbal toddler as of late (though I have to brush up on my interpersonal effectiveness skills because I’m severely lacking in them lately, that and passive/aggressive/assertive stances as well. Ooof, I’m pretty exhausted by this point of the review, a few days later, so this is already feeling rough to get through and I hate it. Ugh. Bleh. I went on another Athena dive too so that reallyyyyy didn’t help anything. Meh. 6/21/2021)
  8. Xel even tells Marnie on p. 125 that her work with Carol is in fact that: work. It’s going to take time and she doesn’t have to rush the process. Again, this reminded me of relationships and building rapport with, in my job, kids, and even just other humans in life in general. ๐Ÿ˜Š In fact, Xel even says how she can’t give a lecture or show a video for Marnie to learn how to speak with Carol, that it’s just something that is learned and cannot be taught exactly, which again, I related to very much. It’s a process, basically!! Communicating with other humans, hehe.
  9. I loved Marnie’s and Xel’s stare down on p. 150 Ahaha
  10. I found it so heartbreaking when Marnie was apologizing to Xel, thinking Xel was pissed and going to abandon her. My heart, oh! ๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’”
  11. I would say, yeah, not meeting someone where they’re at in recovery or life can be pretty invalidating so try and validate where they ARE rather than where you think they could be! Validation doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing with the person, too. Take care, out there!
  12. On p. 181 when Xel suddenly hugs Marnie, Marnie makes such a Loki-like comment telling her to put her down and it was just such a hilarious little thing that my MCU mind took over. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜™
  13. p. 191 reminded me of Deadpool 2 in particular when Deadpool sacrifices himself to save the kid from going on to commit acts of murder against humanity and he dies until Cable goes back in time to save Deadpool from dying with the little token thing. Basically, that sacrifice of the self for someone else just reminded me of Deadpool 2. Which I have to still do a review on…
  14. The book ends with some lovely progress from Marnie. ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿค๐Ÿค

CRITICAL CORNER: THINGS THAT DIDN’T SIT RIGHT WITH ME…

I’m not sure which section this next part should go in exactly: Is it a Critical Corner thought? A Thoughts or Ideas I had while reading thought? A Summary thought? I’m not sure.

But Marnie, as the main character in this story, is… complex. She, to me, was very unlikable. Like, I get that she dealt a lot with worthlessness feelings, low self-esteem, and pushed people away that were only trying to help her, as she had deserved in her living life to begin with however she did not receive, yet at other times she was very scathing and hurtful and angry towards people that were doing her a favor. Like, she was just ruthless and mean-spirited, and didn’t really give herself pause to consider how she might be negatively impacting others around her. She was definitely struggling with her identity and depression and how that was unfair that it wasn’t treated right in her living life and as a ghost, she’s taking out that pain and frustration on everyone around her, and it doesn’t make it right, it makes it understandable and it also was just soooo annoying to me. Like it really grated my nerves. If the story had been about Xel or C’tharla, I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more.

And there were times that Marnie would realize the error of her ways and change.. only for her to resort back to abandonment and angry/miserable tactics that weaponized her emotions onto others. And that was frustrating (because I was open to Marnie, I disliked Marnie, I cared again for Marnie, I hated Marnie and then I was indifferent and wanting more from Marnie). And even the ending of this book seemed rushed to me and was so, so cringe, anticlimactic, underdeveloped and unfinished. It just fell really flat. I feel like the main rushed in plot at the end where another supervisor was being introduced, could have been hinted at before rather than being tossed in for one final punch. It was also very unprofessional of everyone involved and lacked any sense of realism, which is ironic for a fiction graphic novel about the bureaucracy of aliens in the afterlife, so I get that’s an odd sentiment to hold.

Also Marnie was apparently 19 years old. She spoke to me and acted FAR more like a fourteen or fifteen year old. We also never really get an insight into how her family coped with her loss or the way she died. Like, it was just a comical joke that her butt blew up from her chair and it was never revisited again. It was very odd.

Pairing this with the ending where, yes, there were some great points by Xel, it also didn’t fully answer anything. It just seemed lackluster and I think at least 20 additional pages could have mapped things out in a far more clear fashion. It just felt and read to me like the deadline for finishing this novel was approaching and everyone just had to put together all the last pieces the night before and one hour before it was due. I would have liked to see more growth. I do think, again, that Xel had some great ending of the book quotes here but like it was cheapened and we don’t get to see the more growth and change that Marnie gets to experience. Does she stay in the job as an intern forever? Does she eventually leave for the further afterlife? It’s never quite answered.

And then what happens to everyone after the boss issue? Do they get spoken to about what happened, is there any justice served to them for their unprofessional behavior? It seemed more like a six year old ending a story than something well thought out and planned meticulously. Again, rushed and just forced.

There were definitely moments where this book made me laugh or made me think or kept me going for sure. I would say 60% of me was disliking Marnie and 40% was me already being invested and needing to know what happened etc. (The closure aspect, I suppose one could say).

So, for instance of how much I disliked Marnie and resented the fact that this story was mainly about her: Take in point p. 50 where her smug attitude is presented towards two of the case workers, the main chapter being on Dev where she is suggesting that instead of finding the ghost they’re looking to work with they just abandon the process (mmm, do you taste that? The sweet scent of projection) and head back to the office. This is putting it delicately for Marnie’s attitude because it’s about to get a whole lot more direct and miserable. Bleh. ๐Ÿ˜›๐Ÿคฎ

Also, in general, I feel like the worlds and environment about the inter-dimensions could be further explained and unraveled but it’s just never covered further.

By p. 55, Marnie is once again hurling insults at the two people she’s working besides. She, to me and in my eyes, became very unlikable, abusive, powerless, miserable and lashing out cruelly in a verbal fashion (though her body language ALSO communicates this without a doubt). She’s so often in a angry positioning of her ghostly form, which is probably just her shtick and how the character wanted to be presented (but it doesn’t make me want to feel for her, at the same time. So, eh). It’s almost like as a character, particularly the MAIN character, Marnie is just so…. agh, I forgot the word. Like, I definitely felt for her more later but so soon into the novel and I’m ready to chuck the book out the window and never touch it again, you know? It’s not the best way to keep the reader engaged, I think. And maybe this is meant later to build such a testament that Marnie plays such a vital role in the ending of the book but at what cost does me disliking Marnie from the get go make me want to stick it out and see how she turns out (for the better/ultimate good)?

I think I honestly may have mentioned it in another section, but I don’t recall where and I’m still plugging away at this post days later, so I just wanted to add that I was also disappointed in the way that the chapter named after V’qttyr BARELY had any of him actually in it, which was super odd and different from how all the other chapters were constructed. And it seemed SUPER rushed to me, like the last hour before a deadline paper is due and you’re just throwing everything at it to get it done. I thought this was pretty, yeah, I already said it, disappointing. I think if the story had gone on even another 20 pages there could have been a better way of handling it. I believe I’ve said this, too, but like the ending with a new character being suddenly involved to serve as the purpose of Marnie growing a thick skin and finding someone darker than she was and crueler than she was so as to build up Marnie and have Marnie change her stance on things (becoming more assertive, sticking up for her friends etc.) was pretty obvious and predictable. The added character was just so random and not built up in previous pages or chapters, so that was rough. There were still some great things that Xel told Marnie then, which I covered before (I’m writing this review out of order, haha) but yeah, it was just not what I was expecting and the fact that I expected something before it even happened made it cringey to me and dull.

Carol is also accidentally misgendered on p. 175.

To me, I felt that the ending of the graphic novel was kinda like the way parents are presented on Disney channel shows. Very like clueless and just a, I mean, I want to say a ‘mockery’ of their own selves but I feel that may be harsher in words than I wish to intend. I guess just it was pretty cheesy and formulaic and not what I was expecting. I would have preferred less of the random new character involved and more thought placed into it with even more scenes if that was possible. I think taking out the new character would have worked fine and there could have been another way to show how much Marnie had changed (and even then, we could potentially question how much of that was that positive change, she was still having somewhat of an attitude) over the course of the plot line but we didn’t quite get that, in this case. It was still a good and decent book overall, with some excellent ability to code and decipher body language and emotional expressions which I really appreciated.


MY EXPERIENCE: WHAT KEPT ME READING AND THE BOOK’S IMPACT ON ME….

As I already hinted at earlier, I got, as I tend to do, pretty invested in this story and needing that sense of closure and finality when it came to seeing through the graphic novel. For better or for worse, no matter how much I disliked Marnie, I still cared for her and wanted to know what happened to her and where the story went. I cannot abandon a story, I have to see it through and this was definitely one of those cases.

In the end, I did enjoy my time with this graphic novel. I definitely don’t want to read another graphic novel for a while and I probably won’t anyways so that is nice at least. I have my next book that I’m working on and I’m so, so, SO ready to finally just let this book go and no longer be in my possession. As you’ll see below at the very end of this review, I read this book on and off since April 2021 and I’m soooo ready to just be done with it. Thank god!!! It’s going to be SUCH a relief to finally pay off all my final fines from my local library and then continue moving on and forwards with the remaining books I have from two other library networks.

I am excited, I am grateful and I am inspired and motivated. I will be making a lot more videos this coming week and I’m really happy and excited. I also have more blog posts I can do and I plan to finish watching Thor and work on that review, and really get out the TIH and IM2 review posts, along with things like life updates, talking about my romantic relationship and some other older book reviews or film reviews that I have in various documents and physical journals.

I cannot wait. I think I’ve said everything I wanted to say.

Soooo, thank you so much for reading, stopping by and putting up with my shenanigans!! Thank you so very, very much. I’m still working on messages and will continue to uphold that across my socials this week. I am already reaping many benefits and just talking with people by doing that so I’m really motivated and inspired. Thank you so much once again!! I can’t wait to bring this book back, yay. Ahaha

My next book? (within the current timeline of me reading, not necessarily next upcoming BES’s)

Quiet Influence” (2013) by Jennifer B. Kahnweiler PhD

๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Ž


TRACKING DATES I READ THIS BOOK:

4/4/2021, 4/13, 4/14, 5/7 (late night), 5/8 (morning), 5/19, 5/27 (late night read), 6/1 (late night), 6/2, 6/3 (early morning reads), 6/16 (afternoon), 6/17 (multiple hours in one day).

TRACKING DATES I WROTE THIS REVIEW:

6/17/2021, 6/18, 6/21, 6/22/2021

When You’re Tired and You Start One Project, to Stop and Start Another One.


That is the struggle, right? Being so tired that your attention span is such a fickle creature as you start one thing, stop doing that one thing, start another thing and then work back and forth in that process for a while.

Tis what I’m dealing with right this moment. I thought I could write up a quick little blog post while my brain is sliding back and forth on the floorboards as partially a life update (I really only chose this thumb because I didn’t feel up to finding the Journaling one which is really the one I wanted, I’m far too tired for that level of jumping through hoops, and it may be reflecting even in and of itself in this post as well, bleh) and something else that I just forgot.

Regardless, I found myself stuck in the position where I’m just trying to make the hours go by faster so I can eventually just arguably justifiably crawl into bed and under the covers and just hit snooze until about 9a tomorrow morning. I’d like that that. Mmm, sleep.

I also find myself stuck where I’d love to do some creative writing for fan fiction but I’m too far behind in rereading fanfics to appropriately and properly give them the time and the voice and the re-immersion factor into actually working on them respectfully and fully.

I don’t think that makes any sense…. What I’m trying to say is that I started another project only to realize it could fit well into my D&D fanfic (I had the image in my mind that it was Loki and Tony Stark talking after all–speaking of, this evening was the first time I really explored my Twitter timeline *I’ve been avoiding it because Loki series spoilers* and while it was pretty great, it DID have some spoiler-rich content so I’ll be back to avoiding altogether again soon, but what I did encounter gave me some writing vibes) so I wrote in a blank document a scene and it’s essentially a future unknown chapter number for my D&D fic and so it’s the first real time I’ve written a chapter out of order. It’s still pretty rough around the edges but I’m happy with it.

I’m also tired.

I’m also listening to music–loudly, by the way, but music helps to wake me up. Or sleep, sometimes. Sometimes sleep.

Oooo, a nice new song has come on. Yay.

God, I’m so tired.

But I did some networking online today. I had a long day at work, physically exhausting. But it’s over now, hooray. And I decently edited a video, not finished, but I started it so that counts. And then I did some creative writing. And now I’m blogging.

I have been blogging behind the scenes too, I’d like to mention. I’ve been working on a graphic novel book review/book exploration station thingy. I worked on that Fri and well, Fri. Maybe Th too. But I haven’t further.

Actually, I wanted to talk about that–my library has opened up so now you can browse AND sit inside for a bit, no time limit and you just have to wear your mask. So, yay. I’m planning to stop by tomorrow. Ideally, I’ll finish my review and then the book will be checked in at that time and I’ll pay off the last dues and then no longer be blocked, hooray! I have a nonfic book I’m working on now. I did a little reading yesterday evening even.

But yeah, I’ am sooooo so exhausted.

I think it’s time for sleep.

I’m going to go to sleep.

Goo night.

I’d fix the typos but, eh, too sleepy.

I’ll see you guys more later this week.

Bye. xx

PS I took off on a break from Youtube last week so I’m gonna be cranking out some videos this week. All right I’m losing to my falling eyelids. See ya.

PPS We should be soon celebrating hitting 16,000 views. Amongst other things to celebrate belatedly. Also also also, I think I’m in love and that’s special. I can’t wait to work on more art projects soon. Okay sleep now. Yes. Seep.

Just a Temporary Post

Hi hi!

Besides being sweaty right now and feeling far too hot, I’m doing rather well! I have to go brush my teeth because I just ate some mini Heath bars and they are soooo sugary, gwah!!

I’m jumping on here just to make a super quick, fast post and then I’m gonna challenge myself to take just 20 mins to read a book, my current graphic novel I’m calling IYF because that’s the abbreviations of its name, and then I’m going to go to bed and fall asleep. I’ll probably have to take a melatonin to help with sleep because I didn’t last night and didn’t fall asleep until 1a!! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜จ I napped for only an hour or so today which, hell, I’ll take.

Gah, so hot. Tomorrow I really want to spend some time blogging a more standard post, edit a couple of videos, upload a video and film one for what will later be released next Tuesday. I also want to read for a couple of hours or at least one and shave my legs and take another shower. I also want to do the dishes as a chore and maybe go out and shop a little tiny bit. I also want to continue to answer my social media and phone texting messages, as that’s important to me and either engage in some adult coloring, creative writing fanfics version or even some work based creative writing and preparing for the weekend ahead with work. (Leadership, leading routine and things to that effect)

I am taking up a morning shift on Wed next week so that should be interesting. It’ll only be two kids plus it’s a school day so it shouldn’t be too bad and if anything probably uneventful. It will be interesting to see how it’s run (first shift) on a school day and I’ll get to work with someone I’ve only met before in trainings so that’s nice.

But yeah, my dating friend is back home now and we spoke today so that was lovely! I also watched Station 19 and Grey’s Anatomy tonight, hooray. Well, I should go. I need a fan like DESPERATELY. Ahaha I got like EIGHT bug bites last night when I forgo my shirt sooooo that was FUN to wake up to this morning, haaah, not.

Any who, I hope you guys are well. I will be shutting down my laptop for the day and getting on top of a few other things soon after.

May we all sleep well and keep on creating and making fun things that this life has to offer!

Stay safe!!

xxx

๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’›

“Online Danger” (2018) | BES: Mar. 2021


CHOSEN BOOK:

“Online Danger” (2018) by Dr. Eric Cole

((Nonfiction.))

BES 4 - 2.19, 3.13


TRIGGER WARNINGS:

“Crazy”, “[encouraging] a healthy dose of paranoia”, suicide method joke, obsession/compulsion remark.


THEMES:

Cybersecurity, servers, technical but watered down jargon, online, virtual world vs real world, dangers, improvements, security, tips and tricks, advice, people “being stupid”, trust and mistrust, safety, threats, viruses, cyber criminals, lies, adversaries, hackers, identity theft, cyber crimes.


SUMMARY:

Hello, welcome to this next installment of a Book Exploration Station. This post focuses on the nonfiction book regarding cybersecurity and the very real threats and online dangers that exist in this world of cyberspace. The book is divided into about ten chapters self-titled on different matters involving cyber crime and staying as safe as possible online. Our guide is author Dr. Eric Cole, an expert in the field of cybersecurity who is using his expertise in the field, his public speaking to corporations and his academic work to dispel the myths behind cybersecurity and safety for all those involved online. He manages this hefty task through his reflection on the things he has learned, been taught and continues to teach to all. Cole translates large, technical language into an easy to understand identification through a usage of pre-determined sections within each chapter aided with hip ninja illustrations every now and then in the corner of a related paragraph or page. He ends each chapter with a breakdown of tips and tricks regarding the material of the chapter as well as the big takeaways, which I’ve listed out down below as some of my biggest ones too. If you’re looking for a book regarding how to keep private matters like personally identifiable information away from the hands and eyes of the adversary, i.e. the cyber criminal, this may be the book for you!! The book is simplified for the average digital user and provides some advice towards keeping teens and children safe online as well as the adults that made them, which is wonderful! It’s a pretty easy read and I’ve outlined the types of things I had issue with coming from a mental health advocate and recovery based persona as well as what I gleaned as most important from the book itself, having gone through the book page to page with my own mind and eyes.

Something I wanted to name right off the bat is that within the introduction chapter there is a lot of typography changes and size differences that really were abrupt and gave me quite the headache. Luckily they did not persistent heavily into the rest of the book and when implemented at other times it was only done so as to provide emphasis on certain matters. Other minor mistakes like deadpanning what seemed like a question or a misuse of quotations direction occurred but were pretty mild. As with anything else, the book has its faults, which I’ll describe for me down below. Overall it’s a decent read. It wasn’t exactly about what I thought going into it so I had to level these different expectations on my own as I gave the book a fair chance. Let’s begin!


BOOK LENGTH:

160 pages


MY RECOMMENDATION SCORE:

2/5


OUTSTANDING QUOTES OR REMINDERS FOR YOU AND ME:

A really big theme in this book is to not trust links, URLs and email attachments or other embedded links.

The problem with this, particularly relating to the blogosphere, is how do we continue to exercise such caution? Blogging relentlessly involves other links whether spelled out completely or hyperlinked via related text. And this book was released along the timeline (2018) that blogging has been popular but never once goes about answering this very, very large question. So, what is the etiquette there? What is the rule of thumb? I guess it would be to never trust a link again but is that truly practical when it comes to books, reviews, movie reviews, regularly inspired accounts, artwork, music, mental health posts and the like? What do you guys think? Do you trust links in blog posts or even in comments and how do you exercise caution and mistrust regarding them? I’ve become now skeptical of links but I’m also not sure how to go about changing my entire worldview and believable nature about them. Do I change my thinking the best of the people behind creating them and merely adjust my perspective via exercising caution and suspicion that anyone out there may be working against me (which really, arguably, isn’t the best practice to be engaged with in the first place) or do I fall prey to a system that is corrupt and unjust? I’m not sure.

In addition, I think it’s natural to be more trusting within the mental health community, which is not to say there are no predators within because we’ve been shown this to be false repeatedly across different fan groups, but overall I think because we’re more authentic and candid, we can forget these intrinsic rules of the Internet and safety regarding it and that not everyone has our best interests at heart. I think it’s more likely that people will be open to other channels of communication (email, texting, phone calls) and trusting who is behind the screens, where maybe more skepticism should be common place and continuing to entrust that layer of protection between the self and others. Just to be safe. One minute someone could be an ally and the next an adversary. Maybe, maybe taking these small risks could prove to be disastrous. Maybe it’s best to continue to enforce a level of uncertainty in order to protect ourselves, one another and more. It’s definitely something to think about and mull over more.

Another thing I would have liked to see discussed more than it was in this book would be a Virtual Private Network (VPN). I’ve definitely seen a bunch of ads on Youtube videos where content creators have been sponsored by Nord VPN for the usage of watching different Netflix area shows per countries around the world and I’ve been somewhat interested here and there but have never fully looked into it. I think this book lightly touched on it without really exploring it more which I think could have been beneficial. The book does warn a lot about taking off tracking locations on devices so maybe that is something worth looking into and disabling from various functions of apps and such. Personally, that’s not something that bothers me a whole lot but it’s worth looking into for sure.

Another big theme in this book is the notion that we cannot prevent ALL cyber attacks but rather limit their destructive natures and the impact they leave behind: “Reducing exposure can be done; eliminating it totally is just not possible” — Cole, 2018, p. 40.

Personally, I view this along the same lines as preventing all suicide deaths or all cancer deaths–in reality, it’s unlikely to happen although the effort behind it is admirable and worthy of pursuing. By working to help evade even just one death from these conditions matters and can have a positive effect rippled out. The reality is that it won’t be possible for various reasons to postpone death from either of these conditions but maybe we can make it hurt a little less or be a little more bearable for those left behind, like with what can be managed after cyber attacks and cyber crimes. The book later goes on to say that it’s more likely that cyber attacks happen on smaller scales and the media doesn’t report on them. It takes up to 22 months before suspicious activity like on banks and credit cards are actually discovered so it’s even more likely that little bits of money are being used and exploited and the average person never notices it until that two year length of time, which is terrifying!!! (Cole, 2018).

“In cyberspace [this premise of wanting to trust human beings] no longer works. Your high-speed wireless connection does not provide a window into the soul of the user on the other end of your communication. Because verifying electronic information is next to impossible for the average user” — Cole, 2018, p. 44

This, I imagine for anyone else in my position with a blog and especially within the mental health community where so many of us feel compassion and empathy for ourselves and others, is a very, very difficult idea to swallow. It absolutely needs to be said and it’s also incredibly heartbreaking. We have to strive to be more careful online because there are those people online who exist to hurt, damage and destroy one another. It’s very hard and exercising more caution is definitely necessary. I’d say giving out like a less personal email address* (like a public one) if you do at all would probably be best. Offer a DM on the social media where it has that but keep online stuff to online. I know, this is hard, and I’ve not done this in the past myself, but from here forward I’m gonna try and implement it more, or at least just weigh out the pros and cons before I do so. We have to be careful for our own safety at the end of the day and anyone who pushes against that or tries to finagle it doesn’t deserve us and our trust. Be careful out there on the Internet, my friends. ๐Ÿค๐Ÿค๐Ÿค We don’t necessarily know what threat lies behind the next typed word. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ (*We’ll talk again about email addresses later on.)

“Next time you share online, ask yourself two questions:
‘Am I comfortable sharing this with my friends?
‘Am I comfortable sharing this with strangers?” — Cole, 2018, p. 47

Personally, I gotta say, I think getting involved with advocacy for as long as I have now (since Mar. 2016), I’ve completely warped the way I think about this. Even before then, on deviantART and such I always used the journal features and descriptions of my artwork as like really public journal entries. I still do that heavily on Twitter and even just in the blogging world too. To me, I don’t really think about it when I hit send or publish–like once I do, it’s like it never happened even though I’m kinda aware that there’s a record of it somewhere. (By the way, does anyone have a good way to look back on original first tweets? You can’t really search through tweets, can you? I wouldn’t mind looking back on some of my tweets but they’ve just been so completely swallowed up by The Void that I just never look into it. Additionally, I am aware of some cringe from my past exists online but I kinda just avoid it and pretend like it didn’t happen, mmm, avoidance). I probably should think about this [the impact and the cataloguing that happens because I hit publish] more than I do, but I do treat what others might consider private and personal information as just super public information. Eh. *shrug* ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ Maybe one day I’ll look more into this but for now I’m comfortable in it and don’t see a super big problem with it.

It does make me think that for purposes of safety in my videos that I will refrain from specifying specific places or companies and the like and just ask in the description of the video to not reveal these things if people do happen to know. Just in hopes I can limit being doxxed and such. Also, this feels a little meta because if I didn’t treat blogging as personal and sharing myself and my thoughts, I probably wouldn’t be doing so even on here. Interesting, isn’t it?

I guess ultimately, my point here is that what other people may consider private information, I’ve always, in terms of my mental health, treated as public information and I’m really open about it and don’t see the ramifications of why I shouldn’t talk about it, if that makes sense? Like, it has opened up doors for me and new opportunities and I choose to think of it like that rather than be shamed and limited in what I can accomplish and do. It’s about perspective. And I knew getting into this that I might be treated differently or be shunned from things and that’s okay because I know my speaking out matters so much more than that. So, I’ve accepted it and move forwards without thinking too much about it. ๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค

DO NOT i.e. NEVER OPEN ATTACHMENTS IN EMAILS

Honnnnnnnestly, for work purposes, I don’t see this ever being truly feasible and the norm. Like, I’ll definitely look differently at email attachments from unknown sources for sure but like if it’s work related? Ehhh, I mean. Nah. Nah, bro. Especially if it’s an email from myself to myself, like should I not open that either? It’s tricky. Again, strangers hell no. But potential strangers posing as people I know and that it’s super convincing, I don’t know man, that doesn’t happen to me or hasn’t yet, as this author would like to caution everyone–it hasn’t happened YET. I still don’t see that being something I can manage all the time across my accounts. I definitely won’t do links in like comments for instance, like if there’s something you want me to see you can mention the title and I’ll look for it myself but like not opening email attachments, that’s a little much. Sorry. For me and for you and for everyone. ๐Ÿ˜•๐Ÿ™ƒ๐Ÿ˜–๐Ÿ˜ญ

Also, don’t trust video links and playing videos either. Just when you thought the Internet was okay, it says not to do something else because people ruin a good thing!! I’m not sure how it works in any manner but it’s something to be cautious of as well. Trust little online!! Even this maybe? See, these are the conundrums I fell into, too.

Invest in a portable, physical back-up hard drive and Cloud-based backups for your various important information.

Be careful with storing things like personally identifiable information (credit cards, super secret numbers, license numbers, addresses) on Cloud based formats (leave Cloud based backups to things like family photos, creative writing documents, etc.) and utilize physical hard drive backups for things like those same personal documents, photos, videos and personally identifiable information such as taxes information, purchases, etc. Treat your computer like it could become ill and unusable at any moment and so keep things up to date on your hard drives with the photos and information you need there. Perform a careful balance between having too many copies of things and not enough copies of things. (Remember too that once it’s created it can potentially be brought back even if you ‘delete’ it!!! So make sure you get rid of your hard drives carefully when you’re done with them using things like magnets to break up the data.) Most backup drives can be encrypted or password protected and it’s important to keep them in less obvious places in the house like in a safe or secure place (something out of plain sight; don’t use it as a doorstop!). — Paraphrased; Cole, 2018.

Own multiple email address accounts (12’s a lot, 3-5 is better) designated for different, separate purposes only.

So, if you have things like banking information on one email, make a new one just for blog updates and another separate one for another area of your life. Right now, I have two: my public email address and my business email address. After reading this book, it’s best to try and scatter information in multiple places (kind of, some things shouldn’t be, again it’s that balance) so that if one thing goes down, not EVERYTHING goes down with it. (Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!) I’m not sure what I’ll name that email address (it should also change with providers so one Gmail, one Yahoo, etc.) though I have a couple of ideas. I’m not sure what I’d designate it as yet (types of content) so I have to think and consider this more. It may be something I definitely look into and establish soon.

If you want to file share with someone, try looking into file sharing platforms (think Dropbox) that are safer to engage with than simply email attachments that could carry viruses.

This is something I’m gonna have to look more into. It might be even easier if I make a Gmail account. Using things like the Cloud and sites similar to Dropbox might be a worthy investment. Speaking of investments:

Always update your software (virus protection; Windows/PC updates; browser updates) to the new, current models.

The reason for this, despite the hassle, is that new, updated software features patches to previous plot holes and instances where adversaries could take advantage/get past software protection and therefore means if you DON’T update, you’re more at risk to falling for a cyber attack from current loopholes and future continued ones that may appear. Software updates signal to cyber criminals that something was missing before and could be an opportunity for their next attack. Software updates will be lifelong because hackers are very smart and continuously find those holes and ways around a system. Software updates will keep you better protected than if you do nothing.

Shut your computer down for the night when you go to bed or are not using it. If you step away for a moment, lock it up to be password protected. If you’re going to sleep at night, shut it down.

The reason is because a shut down computer cannot be hacked or utilized in serving viruses and adversaries against you. If it’s not connected to the Internet, it cannot be accessed and even if it’s a hassle, it’s for your protection so it’s definitely something I’m allowing for myself more than I used to pre-reading this book–I have a bad habit of having too many documents or tabs open so I’d always avoid this notion of shutting down the computer, not realizing it was such a red flare!! (Phones and smaller devices it’ll be a work in progress for me).

Password vaulting programs may be something interesting, useful and safe to look into. They are programs that can remember various passwords of yours with a two factor authentication system to get into. They are a better alternative than having your browser remember your passwords because these are not as heavily guarded and are more susceptible to being found out. (Cole, 2018, p. 77).

If you’re in the USA like myself, you can (and should) use Annual Credit Report . com as the official government sanctioned website. (Without the spaces, of course.)

Airplane mode on your device can offer you some benefits more than just in-flight progress. It can help limit the location finding of your device when you’re say, going to sleep for the night. (Cole, 2018, p. 83)

I think I mentioned this somewhere else in this review, but I can’t remember now where (I know I mentioned it on Twitter too) but I am going to be shopping/looking for another tetrabyte related physical hardware back-up device to invest in. I’m pretty sure I have a 1TB one and that’s going to be getting full soon so I may line up a 2TB one from what I’ve found thus far via Best Buy. It’s a lot of money (it’s marked down for $60 from $110 but it’s important and will probably last me a long time). My current one has lasted since like 7 years or so. So, it’s worth the investment. I have to finagle between that and a new phone, not sure which one I’ll purchase first. But it’s on my mind and in one of my tabs now too.

P. 84 is where the author talks about “splitting” your personality, i.e. making multiple purposed email address accounts. I honestly couldn’t fathom this at first and like I said earlier or later than this point in time, I’m still trying to figure out what name I’d use, what account where (Google, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) and what for but I’m definitely warming up to the idea and thinking of what it’d be in relation to. It’s definitely now on my mind when before it never was. Definitely something I’m taking away from this book!!

There’s never a clear identification system or protocol to tell fake adversaries links, hyperlinks, Twitter posts, videos, and the like from legitimate, real accounts which is too bad and blogging is never addressed either so I’m still wondering about these things myself now. Maybe having the virus protection software would help with this? Being able to see which websites are ‘green’ for being safe rather than being iffy? I’m not sure. We’re left to figure this one out of on our own.

“We live in a world where no one can make a mistake, because if you do, it will be recorded, monitored and tracked” — Cole, 2018, p. 90

This section where this quote ends from talks about how we have to do a mental pros and cons when posting onto social media EVERY time and that yes, this is the culture of the Internet: it does not forget and it does not forgive. It’s a wild one and it has its benefits and its imaginative parts and it can get very nasty, very quickly. Mistakes online are forever. It’s frightening and the reality for many. Myself included, I’ve definitely fucked up here and there. It serves as a reminder. It’s tough. Be careful, peeps!!

“The Internet does not forgive, does not forget and it punishes those that do not remember this” — Cole, 2018, p. 98

See, he even says so himself right here!!! Let this be a reminder for all who come across this review. Oooof, it’s got me biting my nails in anticipation and fear! And yes, maybe I’m trying to get this review done and over with, too!! I’m so close to finishing and it’s now 7p as I’m writing this paragraph right here. It’s been a while and I cannot wait until I’m free and have returned this book along with five others!! ๐Ÿคฉ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿฅณ๐Ÿฅบ

“If you need a camera or microphone on your devices, disable those features when you are not using them. Be sure to investigate security settings and limit the applications that can access audio-visual accessories” — Cole, 2018, p. 104

This is a HUGE reminder and important thing for me to notate. We’re always hearing horror stories about these things and for years on my old laptop I covered up the webcam with a sticker. I wound up taking it off as I started to film on my laptop and for my new laptop, which is where I’m typing this now, I haven’t done that because I do use the camera for videos and for Zoom support groups and presentations. But I definitely have to look into disabling it when it’s not in use just to get into better practices about that and stay safe for my own sanity, if nothing else!! I suggest you guys do the same or at least consider doing so!! We cannot control many things in life but this may just be one of the few!!! ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š

“Consider email a permanent record. You cannot control what a recipient will do with your emails. The same holds true for social media posts” — Cole, 2018, p. 107

Dammmmmmn that be true. I have to be more careful with my emails and who I trust. I remember one email I got from someone from Youtube and we spoke briefly about someone we were concerned about (actually, there’s probably a couple more of these that exist with other people that I can think of on the top of my head) but yeah, we only emailed like a couple of times and I never heard from them again but I think I may have over-shared a little and it’s been on the back of my mind ever since then, but I try to just let it go and maybe I can follow-up with my friend to see how they are, they haven’t posted lately either, maybe I’ll do that tonight, as a little check-in (I did manage to do this and they are doing pretty well, hooray!! Yay interpersonal effectiveness and managing odd attachments). I always think of these types of check-ins and I love myself for thinking and imagining them but then I forget to actually do them or I’m busy and put it off and then I forget completely. Anyone else have this issue?? The struggle, man. ๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ญ


THOUGHTS I HAD WHILE READING:

flight-of-ideas-bes-thumb-2.19.21

Another question I had reading this book is whether or not there are viruses and malware that can effect things like files of documents, or photos and videos. If nothing else, I’m very likely going to be backing up my files again onto my Passport and also investing in another one because mine is almost full. Videos especially are big so I think I’m getting to the point where I’ll need to upgrade, and so I’m starting to look around for that a little bit.

The biggest thing I’m afraid of online these days is that my FFN and AO3 (fanfic sites) will be hacked or I’ll lose the passwords or be otherwise locked out and unable to update all my stories and such. That would suuuuuuck. And then just getting hacked in other social media accounts too. I’m pretty scared about that. Luckily it hasn’t happened yet. I do need to update some passwords and change some things around and I’m likely, though I’m not sure how or when or where exactly, going to create an additional email address, for what purposes I’m not certain of yet, but you’ll probably have read about this already in the previous section. I’m doing these very out of order ahahaha (It’s about 5p on Mar. 15th as noted here.)

On p. 65 I was reading about how modern day Trojan horses come across as seemingly legitimate virtual programs or people when really they’re big tricks in deception and it made me think of “Frozen” (having just watched it) and Loki particularly in my fic “Distorted & Disordered” but also just in general. It made me think of the Silvertongue he is and how he gets away with his mischievous deceit. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜…

I liked the concept on p. 74 about (responsible) parents explaining to their children where they’re coming from with their concerns about their child’s Internet usage and safety, and how this explanation can better guide the child in addressing their problematic behaviors or changing them for the better. There’s something about explaining things in an understandable way to children that helps in so many ways, and really is important in my work at Amaryllis so far, too.

On p. 75 is when the author officially backs up his claims towards an end of chapter footnote, which was what I was expecting from him since the beginning and luckily for him and myself, he did include something of this at some point in the book (though before would have lent him far more credibility and understanding from me and maybe I’d have given him more of a pass for his arrogant ass).

My next nonfic books I want to look into taking out include: home decorating, interior design, hobbies, gardening, cooking and online safety/social media (p. 87 thoughts).

On the discussion of never checking-in online: Hah! Jokes on you, ’cause I have no routine!! I also try to post after the fact or am careful with SOME things I say or don’t say. Look at me being productive and somewhat a responsible adult. ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ฒ

p. 115: Reminded me, it was a paragraph regarding limiting screen time for kiddos an hour before bed because of the blue light effects, of when, as a teenager, I’d be on my bed, reading House MD fan fiction until like 2a or 3a and even pulling all-nighters and reading them for hours at a time. Ahahah Good memories, for sure. I’ve done it a small handful of times since I was a teen, usually until 1a or 2a but I remember even in 2014 I was reading fan fiction for days on end because I found such a compelling, great multi-chaptered one, like a perfect 50 chapter one ahaha. Those were great times. I should really read more than what I do nowadays. Something to improve on!!


THINGS I DISLIKED OR DISAGREED WITH THROUGHOUT THIS BOOK:

Another thing I noticed featured throughout this book are the little ninja related illustrations and how much the author, to me, came across as trying to be hip and in the “in crowd” with younger audiences via these ninja references. It seemed a little forced at times to me. He also was blatant with being snarky and I think he had a different definition of ‘stupidity’ than me because he would insult the average human repeatedly in the book and even blame the victim for their own ‘stupidity’ for doing something nonsensical online, which, granted while it’s somewhat reasonable it also probably isn’t the best thing when you’re catering to an audience and expecting them to be fair, respectful and give you a chance for a book of yours they’ve either bought or loaned from a library. It might not be the BEST monetary evolution relationship. Regardless, sometimes his attitude was refreshing and he did refer to his expertise only at the very END of the book (p. 159), which I think would have been more beneficial at the beginning because his calling out the average Internet user with truths and hard realities was difficult to face and that combined with his snark definitely made me tune out and off for a bit and I could have easily stepped away from this book without looking back. His questioning of the validity of my Internet friendships made me question the validity behind why I should be taking HIS word and changing my relationship with the Internet based solely on his own opinion. Essentially, a classic ‘why should I listen to you if you’re the one telling me not to trust people?’ If he’d been more up front early on and using references to studies and resources, it would have been more understandable rather than my having to have faith that he meant what he was saying regarding wanting the best for people and also for me to better understand his point of view and why I should give him a chance to speak. You know?

Again, I wished he had made references to other studies and media earlier in the book rather than only on just page 75. If it had been earlier, I think I could have been more fair towards him and would have better understood that he’s an academic and coming from that type of perspective rather than the equivalent of a “Jilly Juice” author. But his attitude was already off-putting and I was pissed off by page 13. Having read the full book I can see where he could have improved on certain areas and what he managed all right.

I think with the “being hip” kind of thing he was trying to appeal to a younger audience even though the content of his book is more so geared towards a young adult, average adult age group so I think knowing his audience better and tailoring to that would have been more appropriate. It was a little odd of a predicament.

Sometimes the author also sounded patronizing to me and like ‘better’ than others and when he would call people’s mistakes stupid he would never fully explain it or say how things could have gone about differently which I felt was stupid in and of itself. Like, if he could explain why it was wrong I think that’d be super helpful and teach the Reader at the same time. Later in the book he would even say not to blame the victim whereas his previous standpoints were to blame them for their own stupidity. So, this was frustrating.

As I already alluded to, by page 12 I was definitely disliking this “healthy paranoia” painting towards the Readers by this author. Yes, exercising caution towards trusting individuals online is important and definitely necessary. However, there’s a way to go about that and I don’t think the way this author did it is right. I think he’s trying to encourage skepticism but saying it like ‘paranoia is a natural thing every human possesses (yes) in a healthy way (not necessarily)’ and that simply isn’t always the case. Yes, paranoia as a feeling is something any human can experience. But as a symptom and a byproduct of a severe mental health condition it is not and I think he was getting confused between this line drawn in the sand. I think his efforts in emphasizing no one can be trusted could be dangerous for someone already susceptible to this level of thought and altered mental status and therefore is not something I agreed with in this book. Also, it just made me question why I should trust himself myself. At this point, there was only the brief introduction and his genuine credentials are only told on page 159 of the book, and he had no references to established studies and media until page 75, and because anyone can write and publish a book (think “Jilly Juice”) than that made me feel even more mistrusting and wondering why I should care about his opinion to start with. It made me defensive, basically. And that’s probably not the way he would want the Reader to feel if he wants them to read his book. Just saying.

Something else I disliked about this book was that it focused the most on opportunistic attacks from adversaries and cyber criminals (so think big corporations) rather than even exploring a little bit on the targeted assaults (like stalkers, doxxing). I think I thought reading this book would be focused more on social media (which it did cover a bit!!), Internet safety and how to combat against doxxing and people treating you unfairly (or fairly but in a repetitive and obsessive manner) when it was primarily focused on cybersecurity and keeping documents and personally identifiable information safe (super secret numbers, banking information, medical records etc). Like, it covered a little bit of what I wanted to read but it was more focused elsewhere than what I was expecting, which was a bit of a letdown. I would have liked to read about what protocol or advice can be taken after a doxxing for instance. But if he were the one giving me this advice, he’d probably call me stupid first and then explain what could be done, let’s be honest.

Dr. Cole does show synonyms for “paranoia” later in the book like when he uses the term ‘skepticism’ so it’s not like he doesn’t know that there are better and more fitting words to use. I just have a problem with him normalizing paranoia the feeling from paranoia the symptom of a mental health condition. He expresses at one point that we should treat “paranoia as a friend” and that could be really disastrous for a mentally unwell person who lands across this book. Like, a healthy dose of skepticism is better worded than paranoia. I don’t know if it’s just me on this train or not but it didn’t sit right with me and because he used a different word later that means a similar thing made me think he may have been being intentionally dense or just ignorant, ironically.

It definitely felt to me like Dr. Cole would insult me, the Reader, every twenty pages or so and his lack of defining what HE deemed as stupidity was super aggravating, stupid in itself and then also made him just increasingly unlikable. Luckily for him I can’t stop reading books no matter how much I may want to, I’m in them for the long haul (ride or die) so I kept giving him chances and it was a decent read altogether. Didn’t mean I liked it any better though. ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿค”

It’s kind of impressive because in one instance of this book, Dr. Cole makes the giant leap from saying how sharing a soup recipe online then corresponds, somehow, to having that social media account hacked and your identity stolen. It’s SUCH a leap and is never fully explained and was soooo mind boggling to me. (Happened on p. 47)

“Obsession. Compulsion. Abduction. Even vengeance” — Cole, 2018, p. 67

IIIIIIIIIII just really hate the potential insinuation that this is a jab at OCD or similar mental health conditions and I can’t stand by it. Like, we’ve got two big factors seemingly involved with OCD (the OC parts) but they’re not used appropriately if they are being said to begin with. “Obsession” in regards to OCD isn’t the same definition in common place use. An obsession for OCD is an intrusive thought, word or image that a person doesn’t want to act on and is not aligned with their values and causes the person distress. Obsession in terms of Hollywood and more commonly thrown around is when someone is fixated on a particular thing, subject or person. And then compulsions, like in OCD, are things (behaviors, thoughts) that a person does to minimize or discredit the obsession. So, for instance if I had an intrusive thought that I was going to stab someone with a pencil, my compulsion might be something like checking I have all my pencils, moving the pencils away from someone so I don’t lose track of it, checking my memories for any intention or evidence that I did it, asking for reassurance that I haven’t hurt them with a pencil, etc. I just don’t like how he’s edging close to maybe saying something he doesn’t mean or doesn’t intend to mess around with.

I know even with like the “To Catch a Predator” show with Chris Hansen they sometimes implied the predator’s actions as compulsions which is not what like OCD is like. I hate that brain illnesses like those of people who abuse and destroy other people’s minds are lumped together with the most kind-hearted, compassionate and empathetic people. It sucks. And it makes mental health conditions more taboo and implies that they’re “dangerous” towards others and such. And that’s awful stigma. ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿค•

“Never mistake cyberspace as a beautiful and simple place, where unicorns drift through fields of daisies, while spreading fairy dust and rainbows in their wake. The Internet is not a safe place to work, live, and do business–evil is lurking behind every email and website, waiting to turn you into a victim. Cyberspace is complex and filled with disease” — Cole, 2018, p. 68

IIIIIIIIIIIIIII don’t know, man, I think it can be both.

Why does it have to be this extreme all or nothing thinking? Why can’t BOTH be just as true and valid?

The surface level Internet is safe-ish, kind of, most of the time. Going lower, some sites, yeah, it’s not good. But like, I don’t think it can be so easily defined as idolization and demonization, you know? I think there are certain approaches to the Internet world people get wrong or don’t always anticipate and I think part of that is forgetting where we’re at and becoming very comfortable in what you’re doing and treating everything really too seriously. Like, knowing people are going to post memes or be a little cruel here and there is understandable. Yes, some people have a lot more time on their hands and may enter levels of intense fixation that are damaging to their health, their minds and for others around them, and the person they’re fixated on. Still, there’s good people out there and people trying to better the world of this giant Internet place. I think both can be true. There’s always going to be someone who doesn’t like you and that’s okay. And being civil and having a conversation about that is respectable and awesome and if they’re not ready for that, handle it and put up some blockers or something and go from there. A lot of this lashing back out isn’t good and also it’s so huge to understand the difference between criticism and genuine hate.

There are definitely people out there who genuinely hate and we have to watch out for them for sure (safety issues for instance) but offering constructive criticism or just misguided wordings of criticism shouldn’t be lumped together as ALL hate. I see that happen a lot more these days and it’s infuriating and sad. I hope I never get to that point. Holding someone accountable is not the same as wishing them death, you know? It’s complicated for sure. But I think there have been some improvements made on the Internet since the early 2000s. Some people are just gonna shit post and use the Internet as their break from their real life and we just gotta roll with it a bit, find the humor in things, and go from there. That’s how I look at it, at least.


MY EXPERIENCE: WHAT KEPT ME READING; THE BOOK’S IMPACT ON ME; WHAT I’LL BE DOING DIFFERENTLY:

book-prints-thumb-2.19.21

Honestly, by the time I’ve made it to the end of this post, having finished off about 45 mins of editing, I’m sooo exhausted and ready to just fall over and fall asleep. Overall, I think you guys have already read what I got out of this review, this book and the whole process of it. I’m probably gonna have a new, additional email address; I’m going to change my passwords around; I’m disabling my camera feed on my laptop; I’m shutting down my computer; I’m backing up my files and looking into getting a new TB; I’m being more careful online and suspicious of links and posts and I’m just exercising more caution and a healthy level of ‘hmm, I don’t think so.’

From the book itself, I kept reading because I always want to give them a chance and the opportunity to redeem themselves. I’m glad I read it and stuck with it. I probably wouldn’t read it again but I’m ready for the next book and I’m grateful and happy that I was able to return it and 5 other books to the library (I didn’t read the other 5 though). But for now, that’s all I got. I’m exhausted. This is the end. I’m done and free.

See you next time. It’ll probably be another review–whether an MCU film or a book review, we’ll just have to see. I’m challenging myself to another novel and that will be very interesting (it’s been months).

Thank youuuuuu so much for tagging along and reading!! What books have caught your attention lately and which ones have you consumed in a record amount of time? Sending you all the best. xxx


TRACKING DATES I READ THIS BOOK:

2.19.21, 2.21, 2.26, 2.27, 3.4, 3.5, 3.8, 3.13.2021

TRACKING DATES I WROTE THIS REVIEW:

3.13.21, 3.14, 3.15.2021


This review is brought to you by music featuring Billie Eilish, Dan + Shay, and a fabulous jamming inclusion of Fall Out Boy occurred as well. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿ˜…

“Grief Is A Journey” (2016) | Book Analysis (Mar-June 2020)

Book Analysis - THUMB - 7.3.19

Edit: Aug 31, 2020; I changed this post from a “book review” to a “book analysis” so the thumb is now different and the rest of the post should reflect this change. This is a LONG post, I had a lot to say and I’ve been procrastinating on it for months. Bleh. It’ll be so satisfactory to end this analysis, publish the post and return the book to the library**. Happy reading!! โค xxx
**As it were, I finished all the quotes section and the wandering thoughts section on a time crunch because I wanted to return this book and 4 others (that I never read, yes, I know) to the library today, Sep. 10th 2020 so technically the rest of this analysis is being written without the book in my possession. But it’s still going to feel so GREAT publishing and finishing this after so, so long. ๐Ÿ˜€

Chosen Book:

“Grief Is A Journey” (2016) by Dr. Kenneth J. Doka


Trigger Warnings:

Emaciation, skeletal reference; grief; loss; disenfranchised grief; death.


Themes:

Losing and repairing relationships, legacies, anecdotal scenarios, grief, definitions, checklist, myths vs facts, finding meaning, adversity, triumph, grief is a process, changing relationships, inspiration in some aspects for me reading it at least, reminding the Reader that they are not alone, comfort, informational, a bit dull and boring at times.


General layout/Information Delivery:

I didn’t like at first the way the myths were spoken of and then the later descriptions as to why they were instead false. It seemed a bit redundant to me and didn’t always hold my attention well. To emphasize the myths and how they came about made me see how they seemed rational but then only paragraphs later Doka was dismissing them and that just rubbed me the wrong way and made it confusing. Like I think if the myth was stated and then the focus was emphasized on WHY it was inaccurate and like have it be like: Myth X; Reality Y would have been better, like right from the get-go have it be disproved, would have made more sense to me and would have improved my experience of the book, especially so early on. (For instance, in the way the book is styled itself it shows a Myth, explains all about it, THEN it says the reality and explains all about that at length too. It’s just a little wonky to me.)

Sometimes the general sentence structures would confuse me, too and I found that to be taking me out of the immersion of the story being told and made it really frustrating, too. It wasn’t exactly the cleanest read through I’ve ever had and it really seemed to draaaaag on and on for me and I’d get annoyed with myself multiple times so that I had to read it in little exposures here and there over the course of a few months.

It was a little overwhelming at times however once I did get into it, it wasn’t so bad. It gave me a bunch of inspiration for my fan fics, novel and other things. For that, I am grateful. It is a pretty dull and boring and at times, ironically, lifeless read and I did learn quite a bit from it either way. These factors will come into play in my final recommendation score. Also, it was pretty gender non-inclusive too, only ever referring to people with “he” or “she” so I think it could have been better in that aspect too (“they” is a good option).

The chapters were split up by general myths and facts on grief, what type/style of grieving the Reader may be, each type of loss from: adult siblings, parents, child, then into disenfranchised grief and each topic underneath that. I would have liked for it to go into more detail regarding homicide/suicide and what changes would have been explored in the case of abusive parents passing on, etc. but it never really goes into it. Also, celebrity deaths, it mentions it, but never really dives into it, which is what my expectation was of it, so if you’re looking through in from that lens, this probably isn’t the book for you.

But, before I say anything more, onto the rest of the analysis….


Summary:

This book carries with it a caring and delicate deliverance of realities and news regarding grief, grieving styles and grieving processes per individuals, circumstances and the relationships involved. Grief is not in stages, as is popularly referred to, rather death and dying is. Grief is more of: a continuum spectrum, where the loss of life or loss of the relationship isn’t the end of the story–instead, grief and loss is about having an unbroken bond with that relationship because the relationship is forever and it remains intact even when death or other circumstances (moving, divorce, separation, ending relations) take away the physical aspects. The loss itself is felt and shared throughout loved ones (family and friends) and even death cannot sever this enormous tie. So thinking otherwise or thinking that grief has an end date is particularly damaging and simplifying the large and intense complexity of the matter to a minor or dismissive state, which helps no one and can disenfranchise some people’s experiences with grief even more than society may already be doing so (suicides, homicides, AIDS deaths etc).

If you’re looking for a book to provide you with examples and information in the form of unrelated, pseudonym based characters, this may be the book for you! This book is rich in information and the necessary replications of repetition that go into handling these emotionally difficult matters. It also has a great source of resources and opening the door towards understanding more about this phenomenon than what I’m used to. I definitely read this book as an insight into grieving, to relate, to understand what I’ll have to deal with at some point in my life and it did get me thinking a lot and even was the reason I signed up for a Disney+ account! :O

While meticulous in some spots, this is a good informational book and a starting point to the topic of grief. Grief and loss will happen to each of us at some point in our lives–objects, people, pets, etc. It’s helpful to know what style of grieving you possess and how to manage that.

If nothing else, it was helpful for me to read about how reading books especially means I can control how much I expose myself to and I definitely used that for this book because it was just heavy and felt like a lot at times. I found that taking those breaks really helped me to come back at the book and attack it. It definitely has its faults and it also has its wins. I’m pretty stickler about finishing a book once it’s started so that definitely came into play here, however, I’m still glad I stuck it out and finished reading. ๐Ÿ˜‰


Book Length:

261 pages


Recommendation Score:

2.8/5 losses


Unforgettable Quotes and Comments I’d like to add:

1. “[Grieving] takes you as long as it takes. There are no rules that make one person’s response normal and another’s abnormal” — p. 5

I particularly think this is a nice quote and a fundamental part of the book as a whole. This book explains how there’s no true stages to grief as what is often misconstrued as existing (those are the stages of dying rather than grief), and it really drives home the point that grief and reactions to loss will be different for each person depending on how their relationship was, how the loss or death occurred, how that person has dealt with loss in the past and more. There’s no right or wrong way to deal with grief necessarily, and each process and each loss is different and unique to the individual. There can be circumstances that make it more difficult or engage the person into self-destructive behaviors which Doka encourages seeking professional counseling or group support for as adequately as possible, while reiterating the normalization of grief and that it’s a process we will ALL go through at one point or often multiple points in our life’s journey. Yeah, those are probably the biggest take-aways from this book that I received, which is great.

2. “There is no closure to grief. Grief is not about letting go of past relationships or closing yourself off from them. Even in bereavement, you continue your bond–albeit in a different way” — p. 6

Again, this helps to further reiterate the biggest take-aways from this particular nonfiction book. There is no real getting over part of grief, it can come and go and the emotional reactions can be caused by reminders or certain memories and while there do exist parts of it that can become unhealthy or disordered, it is an ongoing journey that you embark upon differently for each case and each death and there are ways to grow and learn from them as you continue onwards in your own life’s journey. You will find ways to grow in strength, to make peace with what was lost and what never was and so on. You will be able to survive it and you may be able to even thrive despite the nasty repercussions of that painful, painful bereavement. It’s not about moving on but moving through.

3. Be specific in what you can do to help (p. 9) i.e. instead of just saying “I’m here if you need me” or “Let me know if you need anything” mention specific ways you can help, like “If you want, I can pick up someone from the airport; I can bake you a cake; I can call you at X time” etc. Platitudes of generality are nice but if not followed up on or through they’re more like empty words. Plus these nice intentions when not followed through on can be lacking perceived care when it comes to the grieving individual, potentially accruing more pain onto them and their isolation, if they are doing so. It helps to name specifically what you can offer as they try and understand for themselves what they need during this difficult time. This is true as well for those struggling with their mental health conditions and wanting to best support them. Follow-through is HUGE. ๐Ÿ™‚

4. “The bad days will come less often, will become less intense, and will not last as long” — p. 13

As we move through grief and the grieving process it will become more manageable and if it doesn’t or the pain spikes again, then there may be other underlying issues beneath the surface that require professional help and support to identify, uncover and manage. This will take time. And again, there’s no real closure in grief, you carry on with the relationship in ways that the other person isn’t physically present to interact with you on but the relationship is still there. That cannot be severed and you have your memories and your feelings and your thoughts to sift through, as well as rituals to remember them by or legacies to unfold or other meaning making ways to celebrate them and grow from the experience.

5. “People we love become part of our own biographies. We cannot really separate ourselves from them. They have left an indelible mark on who we are and how we see ourselves” — p. 15

Again, this is the part of the chapter where Doka goes into labeling myths and then asserting their true realities. The idea that loss is about letting go of people or things or pets is inaccurate as really we still have a connection and a past relationship with them that is just now challenged by the metaphysical world and what our brains can imagine and see. The people we encounter in our lives all have a special place and we are so intrinsically interconnected that leaving them “behind” as you “move on” isn’t really true. You still have them even as you move through the pain of loss. It’s just in a different way. โค

6. “One task of mourning is deciding how to carry those memories and feelings with you in ways that still allow you to reengage fully in life” — p. 16

Once again, the point driven home is the ongoing relationship regardless if the person is still on this physical plane or not. Part of the grieving process is finding ways to live with it and through it and memorialize the person or perform rituals in their honor or compact your feelings into a visual and significant process that makes the most sense to YOU and what you need, not necessarily what you think other people think you should be doing or acting or behaving. Your process is your process and you have to own it. How you choose to remember this loved one is up to you. Allow people to grieve as they will, unless it’s detrimental or harming themselves or others, of course!

7. “Even in grief, you are not without resources or devoid of any power. In acknowledging your grief and in recognizing that your emotions are normal and natural responses to loss, you can begin to cope with your feelings” — p. 31

I feel, as I’m now returning to this review turned analysis (although arguably it was always going to be an analysis) in August 2020, this particularly hits strongly now with the recent news of Chadwick Boseman’s (Black Panther/MCU) passing. It may actually do me some good to finish commentating on the content of this book not only for you guys who may still be grieving whatever you happen to be losing and for myself as well to come to some terms and baseline with it. It’s sad news indeed. I’m not sure how this year will get worse, but I’m prettttty sure it’s gonna find a way to do so. :/ Maybe it’ll help someone else out there too, if they’re able to read long and hard at my thoughts, ideas and that of this book itself. So, thank youuuu!! โค

8. “Rituals of affirmation celebrate the life of the person who died and recognize his or her legacy or accomplishments” — p. 33

Relevant for today’s end of August truths. </3 As well as being potentially just as helpful while people are still alive, to appreciate and say that you love them more and more. We never know what someone else is going through by just looking at them, like how we can’t tell their story by their face today, yet we can learn. We can try to grow and get better. It matters to be as kind as possible, and critique constructively where needed. Overall, being kind is worth it. It is.

9. “‘I have come to terms with the death of my daughter… I have not yet come to terms with the loss of everything I believed'” — p. 43

Hot damn. That’s powerful and says a lot!!

10. “Our different ways of grieving may create conflict. Some grieving individuals avoid reminders of their loss, while others seek them. One person may want the home full of photos while another wants to put away all these painful photographs” — p. 46

Grief, however it is felt, thought of and expressed, is never either “right” or “wrong.” Grief just is. Allow yourself as much as you can to feel your emotions and express them towards those you trust. And if you’re still struggling much time later, get help from a professional. It’s okay. The grief will subside somewhat, at least in its frequency and intensity, even though the relationship will always remain intact, just in another way. Sometimes it comes back in smacking waves, sometimes it’s quiet, sometimes it is loud and painfully felt, it all depends on the relationship, when you heard the news, how you heard the news, if it was a singular death or multiple at the same time, what else was going on, if you’ve dealt with other losses before this one, and so forth. Additionally, if it’s been unclear from before this point: Grief/Loss can happen with any one or any object. Loss is still loss. โค

11. “You are having these [grief] reactions because you lost someone–or something–you loved. You are grieving” — 50.

So be kind to yourself!!! โค

12. “The intense pain of grief will not be forever, but grief is not something you get over. It is a process that becomes part of a new, meaningful life. Certainly the pangs of pain will continue. But you need to mindful that, over time, it is not helpful to the deceased for you to live in a state of chronic loss” — p. 65

And promises you made to the deceased prior to their dying don’t necessarily have to be something you’re locked into for life. Like, if you swear you’ll never love again, your significant other probably never wants that misery of loneliness for you. If it would make you happy to love again, they’ll be glad that you’re enjoying your life and moving along as steadily as possible even when–and especially when–it hurts.

ALSO: This reminded me of Thor in Endgame and Tony Stark. And my avoidance of all of that. And how fics work. XD I keep wanting to rewatch the MCU movies but I’m getting bogged down in the perfectionistic bubble that I should watch them in order and review them all. Gwah. I do have Disney+ now so that’s a start. I don’t know, I’ll have to work on it and challenge myself. Maybe I’ll watch one or two out of order to just get into it again, you know? We’ll see. I am listening, at the time of writing this part on Aug 31st, to an MCU soundtrack/instrumental music video that’s about an hour long, so I mean, progress! Baby steps, ahaha.

13. “The good memories or life lessons that a person left us create a legacy that lives with–and within–us” — p. 72

A true point. This also reminded me of Luna but in general to other grieving relationships as well. Sometimes, as is mentioned after this quote, the memories of the illness can become more prominent however it is possible to work on bringing the lighter moments back into the forefront. They will always be with us, some even standing the passage of time like through photos or videos. โค

14. “After all, the greatest legacy your loved one can offer are the memories and life lessons you can take from them as you learn to live without their physical presence” — p. 74

An emotional roller coaster of a quote. </3

15. “Sometimes you may feel you are not getting support when, really, you are asking people for support they cannot offer. It is good to remember that some people are good listeners; others are doers, while still others offer respite–or time off from your grief. Use your support system wisely” — p. 96

I feel that this quote is ESPECIALLY important and critical to keep in mind and is a fabulous take-away from this book if nothing else is. Or at least with newly frame grief experiences alongside it. โค I also think it applies well to even physical health and mental health conditions. xxx

16. “You may be giving mixed messages–saying you are all right when you really can use support. You cannot expect people to read your mind and guess your intentions. If you need others’ support, you have to ask for it. Only then can you know if it is available or not….. Sometimes people may offer help so generically–for instance, saying ‘Call me if I can help’–that you really do not know that they are willing to follow through with their offers. If someone offers to help, ask them for something [specific/] tangible” — p. 96

So this is actually two quotes I wanted to get through. For the first: advocate, advocate and advocate. You have to advocate for yourself in your treatment, relationships and life in general. People can’t know how to help you if you don’t ask for what you need. So yeah, that’s HUGE. For the latter: it’s so, so, so important to follow-up after the initial message is sent. I know we get busy and everything and that’s okay and if we really want to be a part of the solution for that person we’re trying to help help themselves, we HAVE to follow-up. If you say you will, follow through! And be specific too. Like the previous quote, ask for what you need and if you’re not sure, try and do some soul searching to come up with some idea, or try out what you think you need and depending on how you feel about receiving it, adjust your expectations from there. Good luck!! โค

17. “Book services such as the Centering Corporation (centering.org) and Compassion Books (compassionbooks.com) [may be helpful resources]” — p. 97

Just spreading the word on a couple of the good amount of resources mentioned in this book. โค

18. “While there is an inherent loneliness in your journey with grief, you do not have to journey alone” — p. 101

Just a nice reminder. โค There is help, there is support and you have to do a lot of work to manage it. It’s a process. Never-ending, always there. That doesn’t have to always be a bad thing. :3

19. “In other cases, you may overwhelm your support system. Sometimes neediness can drive away other people…You may be expecting too much from those around you” — p. 114

Oops, can relate to what all went down in 2017, my codependency and a friend I tried to reconnect with this summer who wanted nothing to do with me. Whoops. :/

20.ย  “You may never have the opportunity to respond [to an invalidating comment on your grief] but just thinking about what you could have said reaffirms a sense of control and empowers you not to be a victim again” — p. 118

I thought and think this is an important and nice comment to refer to. Sometimes doing role play for the future or the past can be really therapeutic and prevent future issues or at least prepare you in case they happen again and you have a template on how to deal with them. :3 โค

21. “Acknowledge to yourself that some days may be more difficult than others. Flexibility is important. When you have a rough day, you may not be able to accomplish all that you wished. Other days will be more productive. Be gentle with yourself” — p. 119

This is relatable not just towards grief but to mental health conditions and life itself in general, too. I think this is a very important and critical lesson to be reminded of. We all have bad days, with or without health issues. And it matters to self-validate and remind ourselves (and our loved ones) that sometimes days are off and it’s okay and we can work towards making tomorrow a better one. โค ๐Ÿ™‚

22. “It is important to remember that there is no single, right way to experience grief. Nor does grief have a timetable. Your experience of grief is what it is and comes from who you are. You cannot compare your loss to the losses of others, or your reactions or responses to those of others. Differing experiences of grief have little to do with how much you loved or cared about your loved one (or thing)” — p. 132

Just a really important thing I wanted to highlight, have you focus on and remind myself of, too. I think lately with my mental health conditions I’ve been struggling with this notion, the whole comparing myself to others and it’s important to notate for myself even in an analysis that those types of depictions aren’t reality and aren’t comparable. It’s also nice to be reminded what grief really is and how it takes its course is how it takes its course. โค :3

23. “You do have choices within your grief. You could choose to live your life in perpetual mourning for your child. Or, as difficult it is and may seem right now, you can choose to live a now different life–but to live it fully, keeping alive the memories of your child and lessons that, however long or short your child’s life was, you gleaned from them” — p. 149

Honestly, this is just beautifully stated, worded and conceptualized. โค xxx

24. “Family holidays offer an opportunity to name the elephant in the room and to acknowledge that someone who was so much a part of your life and other lives is now missing. It can be as simple as a toast that allows the name to be spoken, stories to be shared, and the cloud of silence to be lifted” — p. 181

I think this is so beautifully and poetically stated. โค ๐Ÿ™‚

25. “Sometimes you have to have the courage to share with others what you are feeling and to ask for the support you need. This may mean that you educate your community about the meaning of your loss. Sometimes you can be your own best advocate” — p. 195

Vulnerability is a strength. โค Advocacy is crucial, even when, and especially when, it’s hard and exhausting and you’re tired of it. You have to tend to your reserves until they’re recharged and use your support network appropriately and as healthily as possible and then go from there! โค

26. “A loss of functionality tests your sense of self. Your identity is challenged when you lose the ability to do things that were once important to you” — p. 208

I think this can relate especially towards disability as a broad term and also with the cognitive impairment of mental health conditions and also apparently I’ve severely limited my capacity and ability to read books as effectively as I was once able to do. Grrr. Each page and paragraph and book done is a test to the amount of concentration and mental gymnastics I had to uphold to remember what happened, who was involved and all the information I feel abounding my soul because of all the commentary I have to say about it and the experience of reading it as a whole. Phew. That was a lot. ๐Ÿ˜›

27. “‘Anything that you have, you can lose; anything you are attached to, you can be separated from; anything you love can be taken away from you. Yet, if you really have nothing to lose, you have nothing‘” — Quote by Richard Kalish p. 211

I thought this was particularly interesting and worthy of being mentioned in this analysis. :3 Blap!

28. “You may even find that your loss generated significant changes that in some way made the world better–creating new laws, or something more local such as a safety rail or traffic light where none had been before. However significant such changes are–in yourself or in society–they do not bring the person back. Yet that is not the choice. The choice is how you deal with the loss you experienced” — p. 254

This important quote is something I referred back to and referenced in my #SummerComer poem entry #4 HERE.

29. “Grief, too, takes time. Sometimes you want to get over it so rapidly that you lack the patience to let the process unfold. You expect to wake up one day and be “better”. You need to give yourself time to grieve, but like watering a plant, you can sometimes test how far along you are in the process. You can experiment by testing yourself as to what you can do” — p. 259

So this final quote is a testament to the idea that we take grief as a moment by moment kind of thing, a process, and some days the thought of doing one little action can feel too insurmountable and so when that happens we know to back off and try again another day. Then, each day we find ourselves getting closer and closer to actually and actively acting on the thought. Like, for me, I’ve been getting closer and closer to watching various MCU movies or working on a journal entry in a guided journal or things like that. Each day and moment I’m getting closer and I’m warming up more and more to the idea, it just hasn’t quite fully happened yet. But I know it will. I know it will. โค ๐Ÿ™‚


Wandering Thoughts or Ideas I had while reading:

  • p. 7: I used to be really stickler about keeping my artwork and dating it properly and having trouble letting go of it. Nowadays, I still date religiously but I’m also able to give things away and let go of other things that at one point were mine but no longer need to be. I found this a fascinating thing to come into awareness of as I read this book myself. And the way that I related to other parts of the book itself, seeing how I could incorporate certain concepts into my creative writing, how I’ve dealt with loss in the past, what techniques I can try in the future, etc. I still struggle letting go of physical things (pieces of clothing, lists, tracking things) but it is becoming more of a natural pace for me to save some things and share others elsewhere with the world or with those I come into contact with. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • p. 24: Here I had the idea that I could incorporate the ideas that whatever we grow attachments to and love can be lost and when those ties are severed we will grieve. I think this could be especially relevant to some of my fanfic stories, including “Severed,” as there is a loss of health in that fic (and honestly most of my stories) where Loki has to come to grips with things he’s unable to do now and grieve that loss, while also building ways he can soothe himself and still carry on forwards. Just a thought I had. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • p. 27: Doka explains the physical symptoms that grief can ignite in the human body and this made me think of my fiction novel I wish to write and how I can incorporate some of these symptoms into my story’s main character and sibling relationship. ๐Ÿ˜€
  • p. 31: “[Causation guilt, something we did or didn’t do caused the death] We may be fixated that if only we had taken the person to a doctor or recognized a symptom, death could have been avoided” — This is a great inclusion I’d like to make in my fanfic “A Little Unsteady.” โค
  • p. 34: I really want to focus in on a “Distorted and Disordered” alternate universe spin-off where Loki actually does die from his suicide attempt and how that impacts his family and tears them apart, really. It would be multi-chaptered, focusing on each family member. Thor would be like how he is in Endgame and develop a difficult and harrowing drinking problem. Odin would leave and grieve to himself, pushing everyone away and Frigga would be trying to find meaning and purpose through her life’s work in the nonprofit and probably dedicate something within it to her son. I think I could even explore the side characters/the other Avengers as they react to the death. It’d probably be each character as a chapter, I think. But yeah, this page here discussing anger in grief made me think of this at the time.
  • p. 35: On the topic of constructive ways of channeling anger, it reminded me of how I got started writing in my uni’s newspaper on mental health and my recovery journey. :3
  • p. 35: “Fantasies can be an effective way to cope with anger” — This made me think of my own travels with art and fanfics/writing in general. It makes me think of how I transform my grief. I wonder how many T’Challa related fics there are out on FFN and AO3 right now. Maybe I will look into this. I feel like I don’t know his character well enough to write about him but it would be cool to see like Black Panther and Chadwick meeting on the other side. I know FFN doesn’t allow you to write about real people though, I guess maybe Black Panther leaving behind his family instead? Like his ghost seeing each of his family members one last time as he moves from this plane to the next? I don’t know, it’s an idea, at least. โค [AIwFF: 8/31/20]
  • p. 42: Reminded me of the movie “White Noise” (2005) that I watched a summer ago and am still in the middle of a film review notes section on. ๐Ÿ˜› I’d have to take it back out again though too. (Which won’t happen until I bring more books back…. Like this one. Sep 20: Now I’ve brought it back but haven’t got out any movies. :3)
  • p. 75: There’s no option within the talk of spirituality for what to use religion/prayer with grief when you happen to be an atheist. D: It’s never explored in the book, either.
  • p. 87: What style out of four is Thor through my fic D&D? (Head grievers are impacted most by the cognitive impairments that arrive from loss) In D&D he’d be fixing Loki’s bed sheets etc. What about in “Lead Me Home, Brother”? Or in Endgame?
  • p. 88: “[Reading books about grief] may appeal to your mind and allow you to “dose” your grief. A book after all can always be put down for a while…. John Gunther’s book Death Be Not Proud
  • So for the above statement: I’m pretty sure I read that book in high school and absolutely LOVED it. Also just in general, I feel the former is very true. When I get frustrated or upset by a book I can take space away from it for a while unlike some other things. I did that a few times with this book (it’s just lengthy, informational and boring. Deathly boring, ironically enough). But yeah this just reminded me of what I was doing with this book itself and researching for my fanfics even. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • p. 93: I would like to rewatch “Being Human” (US) version, find “Saving Hope” and watch that too as well as get Disney+ and watch MCU movies. Which, I have had the account for for the past few months (D+) and it was actually reading this book that brought that into existence, so, thank youuuu, book! โค I have seen a couple MCU movies on TV at least, so that’s some re-watching. ๐Ÿ˜›
  • p. 117: Estate and yard sales are pretty cool. I got a few books and a couple paintings and such from an estate sale my Mom and I went to a couple years back. So that’s nice. :3 (About re-purposing items left behind from loved ones for other people to cherish and enjoy. ๐Ÿ™‚ )
  • p. 130: In my AU spinoff from D&D where Loki does die in his suicide attempt, Frigga would find some relief in the notion that he wouldn’t be in pain anymore and that even though that painlessness meant he was taken from her too soon, it would also comfort her in the smallest of ways. Odin would leave them and Thor would, as I mentioned earlier, would dabble into alcoholism to bury his own pain. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
  • p. 132: [Parents having lost a child can sometimes reach a state of renewal where…] “They choose to move forward, to live a meaningful life despite the loss. They find a meaning that makes their lives a tribute to their child”
  • Commentary on this quote: I really liked this and again I think it conveys a sense of pain and rebirth to a very tragic and unfortunate situation.
  • p. 132: Yes, your memories of your child (or any other loved one) will always be with you…unless you die or you get dementia of some kind. :S
  • p. 144: I was raised in a Christian household but in my teens I turned more towards atheism. I don’t know exactly what I believe now, maybe agnostic, but I do like to think of “god” as the Universe. That is comforting to me. Also, ironically, for someone who didn’t believe in an afterlife, I wrote and still write a LOT about it ahaha. This ‘rebuilding faith’ section made me think of this and reminded me of my plot for my fiction novel. โค
  • p. 144 cont: For that novel, I’ll list out a couple of themes mainly for myself to remember and jot down into the future (and which probably will make no sense to you ahaha) – RxR, breakdown, remembers decisions to stay after 1/2 through, afterlife. โค
  • p. 147: Again for that D&D AU of which I don’t yet have a title for: Focusing each chapter on the immediate family, then to the Avengers as would have been friends and then other characters as the people Loki had yet to meet and how his absence impacted and changed them. โค :3
  • p. 148: “Your child’s death will affect not only your spouse and children but also other relatives and friends. Your parents have lost a grandchild, your siblings grieve the death of a niece or nephew. Neighbors, coaches, teachers and friends all experience that loss. Their own ways of dealing with that loss may influence their own abilities to offer support” –> This is exactly why I want to do that additional AU fanfic where this is explored properly and fully. I hadn’t even thought of the further ramifications and how plenty of other people would be impacted by Loki’s suicide. So, yeah, super important! If only I could actually do some D&D writing for what’s happening now and then come up with a title and start working on it. I have a title for the AU where he gets help instead of attempting first, too (“Failure to Pass A Psychiatric Evaluation”.)
  • p. 168: “As parents age, we realize that they are not the awesome or awful powerful figures we once imagined them to be” –> This also, once again, reminded me of the relationship between Loki and Odin (both in D&D and in general). ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
  • “(Your parents’ deaths reminds you…) of a central truth. Your parents left their mark on you–left you legacies and perhaps liabilities–not only in their lives but also in their deaths” — p. 169 I thought this was particularly poignant and necessary to be brought into the discussion of this book analysis. :B
  • p. 176: The name isn’t said here but I do like for one of my future characters somewhere to be named “Nardia”.
  • p. 205: “Experts recommend open and ongoing communication between adoptees and adoptive parents to allow information, thoughts, and feelings to be acknowledged and processed. This is unlikely to be a “one time tell all” but rather an ongoing process” –> This reminds me of the Thor movies where Odin pretty much did a one time tell all and how it’s referenced in the movies thereafter. Also makes me think of my sequel for D&D. :3 BUAHAHAH
  • QUESTION: p. 207: (How visiting within the prison system can be humiliating for the search of property and person) Can psych hospital admissions be grief provoking? And related, can you grieve what no longer is (like for me it’s been 2.5 years hospital free, can I grieve times I was in the hospital or times I’m not in it now? Like, mainly for “free” meals or meeting friends etc. I don’t know, it’s an interesting thought. :3
  • QUESTION: p. 218: Does a positivity bias [“in those with intellectual disabilities they may have positive bias where they have a sunny disposition that masks their deep sense of loss”] exist in other realms and contexts too? Because I think I can be like that sometimes too because of my optimism and positivity and kindness whereas it’s there because I’ve been through pain, you know? I thought this was interesting and I was curious about it. :3
  • p. 257: Exercise on life imprints by asking how a person we’ve lost affected our mannerisms, way of communicating/speaking, hobbies and pastimes, basic personality and values/beliefs can be like sea shells making indents in the sand–we can have imprints from people’s legacies placed on us, liabilities from them, and just imprints in general. This could be a good group activity for my work at Amaryllis. I may need to flesh it out more or research a bit more but it could be excellent. โค
  • p. 258: Strengths group for work as an art activity. What strengths have gotten me through hard times before and what can they do for me now etc.

What Kept Me Reading, How I Read it & The Impact of It All on Me:

There are sweet moments within this book that made me cry, smile and laugh. Ahaha. Also I have rules for myself and while I can change them, I just don’t yet. (Like if I start a book I have to finish it. If I read or consume something (books/movies), I have to review them, etc.)

Overall, what kept me going was that I was closer and closer to finishing it. I knew that I had to get through it to get to all the other books I really, really do want to read so that helped. I found that putting on perfume or lotion helped too, ambient music like train sounds on Alexa and Calm app scenes like the mystic water fountain, sunset on the ocean, gleaming sunshine, etc. Even just reading on my bed or curled up on the floor. Definitely having a view of the stack of books helped, too.

So yeah, once I was reading it I wanted and knew I’d be in it for the long haul. I’m so glad and relieved I’m almost completely finishing off this post and everything about it. I’m excited for my next review or analysis. I think this book overall served a great purpose for me and that’s reflected in its score as well as the fact that I made this review and stuck with it, regardless of all the procrastination involved and finally it is done and I can wipe my hands clean.

I’d say it made an impact on me and definitely got me thinking and trying to find ways to relate it to my stories and everything, so that was really nice!

Lastly, thank you so, so, soooo much for reading!!! Leave me your thoughts down below and if you have a post you’d like me to read and review, leave it down there, too! โค โค โค

As always: stay safe, take care and be well. Much love and light to you. xxx


Dates I read this book:

3/23/2020, 4/8, 4/23, 4/24, 4/26, 5/16, 5/18, 5/19, 5/27, 5/29, 6/11, 6/12, 6/15.

Dates I wrote this review:

6/15/2020, 8/31/20, 9/1, 9/10/2020.


#SummerComer #PoetryChallenge Entry #7: She smiles….

Yet another week into this challenge, although this one is also late again, sorry!

Hi again, welcome back to another posted poetry blog post. If you want to check out last week’s post, here it is! Thanks so much and I’ll see you at the end of this post, which, will be very soon. xxx Happy travels!!


The RULES:

  • each post begins with the thumb above
  • each poem will be individually titled and labeled by the entry number in both the piece itself (at the end) and in the title
  • each post will include any background music used to โ€œset the moodโ€ which will be listed at the end of the entry
  • each poem loosely exists within the context of summer but is not strictly limited in constructing that imagery. I.e. itโ€™s a summer project but may venture outside of that topic/theme-wise. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • the goal: one poem each week from the end of May to the start of September under the hashtag: #SummerComer

ย 


FYI: Last week’s post’s spacing got completely messed up, so I hope to avoid that into the future. Just wanted to point that out. Maybe I’ll try and edit to fix it but I’m not sure.


She smiles….

and when she wanders

to the cave within her soul,

she takes a deep breath,

relaxes,

and gently rocks to sleep.

Technical aspects of the poem:

Written 7/4/2020

Mood Music: Ambient sounds on Calm App/No music used.


About the poem: This poem was does really fast for me by just taking out a couple of minutes out of my day to jot it down actually on some pink, floral stationary paper. It was heavily influenced by a nonfiction book on sleep that I completely consumed this day ahaha (review to come soon). The book has inspired me across multiple mediums (writing, reading, filming) and I can’t wait to share it with you guys somewhat soon!! (next two weeks or so)

Thanks for reading!!! xxx

PROMPTS OR IDEAS YOU WANT TO SHARE?

Leave them down below. ๐Ÿ™‚

โค โค โค