Now, what I’m with isn’t it, and what’s “it” seems weird and scary to me.

Tonight, Flora showed me some of the stuff she’s been listening to/watching on YouTube with her friends. A lot of the content still seems remarkably adult, despite being creepily sanitized for young ears via Kids Bop, the Mini Pops and children’s YouTube channels.

Tonight’s example, the Haschak Sisters covering Kanye West’s ‘classic 2005 hit’, ‘Gold Digger’:

(Aside: ZOMG, didn’t 2005 just happen?! How is a song written then a ‘classic hit’ now? Oh… math. And the passage of time.)

Part of me is uncomfortable with young girls singing a song and making an accompanying video about some nasty female stereotypes. Another part of me is really impressed at the production values these ‘amateur’ videos have.

I guess this is no worse than when my parents gave me a copy of  the ‘Rock ’87‘ compilation tape for my sister and I to listen to.  I remember my father playing it and singing along to the Paul Lekakis hit, ‘Boom Boom (Let´s Go Back To My Room)’ VERY LOUDLY. I’m still cringing in embarrassment about that, and my dad’s been dead for nearly 26 years. I can’t even remember the last time I heard that song. However, in the name of research, that streak has now been broken. You’re welcome.

(Another aside: this song didn’t even have a music video way back when but a video was made for YouTube nearly a decade ago. Paul Lekakis still seems to be performing live here and there so good for him.)

After I watched the videos she showed me, I asked her when she was going to enter her metal years because that stuff doesn’t scare me. I was laughing when I said it but it reminded me to keep working on her media literacy skills and checking in on what she’s actually watching online because it’s not just Baby Alive videos.

That said, if pop music is her biggest rebellion, we’ll be doing okay.

Grampa Simpson with Homer and Barney
It’ll happen to you… (it happened to me) (This is one of my favourite Simpsons episodes. Pretty sure I’ve quoted this before on the site.)

What I read in 2016

I love Goodreads. It is such a useful site/app to track both what I’ve read and to find new books to read. The yearly Reading Challenge really does keep me motivated to read more. This year I surpassed my goal of 50 books by 38% – that’s an extra 19 books! I owe those extra books to some travel we did and my commute to work (extra reading time is one of the few advantages of my car/train/subway commute into the office). I’ll also acknowledge sunny days on my back deck, my favourite spot on the couch and reading in bed while Sean watches sports as other good times for reading.

As you can see from the below list, I read my usual mix of contemporary fiction, biographies/memoirs, “delightfully trashy” romance and a smidge of non-fiction. My fascination with Nantucket summers and ‘summer cottage fiction’ has continued, along with biographies of aging rockers.

What can I say, I am a multi-faceted woman.

I enjoyed all the books on this list – some more than others of course. There were a few I didn’t finish that did not make this list. I’m relieved that I’ve finally allowed myself not to finish books I’m not enjoying.

The books I’d really recommend that you read if you haven’t already are:

What did you read this year? I’d love your recommendations.

Melissa’s read-in-2016 book montage

The Secret Sex Life of a Single Mom
The Good Daughters
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things
After Her
Carry On
Fates and Furies
If You Could See What I See
Mayor Rob Ford: Uncontrollable How I Tried to Help the World's Most Notorious Mayor
Our Souls at Night
I'm Coming
Cat's Eye
Winter Street
The Crooked Heart of Mercy
Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs!: My Adventures in The Alice Cooper Group
Dirty Rocker Boys
Play
The Nest
Nantucket Nights
Miss New India
The Two-Family House



Melissa’s favorite books »

Is chickenscratch really helpful?

Oh hey! It’s the first post to this site in nearly a year!

I started to write about why I don’t keep this site updated (OMG, yawn!) but then realized I was writing an even-whinier version of this post from 2015. So not only boring, but repetitively boring. So enough of that.

Just before my birthday this year, I told myself that I was going to make more of an effort to write. Online, offline, whatever. Just needed to write more. I have so much I want to say and I need to get it out. But first I need to get it untangled. Or I need to emotionally un-constipate myself. Or something. My birthday was at the end of August and it’s taken me nearly six weeks to get to a place where I feel like I can express myself. So here I am.

In mid-September, I signed myself up for some daily writing prompts. Just random topics for free-writing for a minimum of ten minutes a day. To build a writing practice. To loosen up. To play. And I’ve used exactly one of those prompts. They’re interesting prompts, so that’s not the problem. I just put them aside and think ‘when I have the time, I will write’. Then I never make the time. These prompts recommend longhand writing in a journal and I hate it. I found a nice journal and carried it in my work backpack to sneak in some time during my day: whether on my commute or during the work day itself (during lunch of course). And that has been a huge fail. I don’t feel right taking that time while I’m at work, and I can’t get physically comfortable enough during my commute. Then there’s  the longhand writing itself. I write fast and hard, and it either becomes tiresome on my hand or completely illegible. Often both at the same time. I know the point of these free-writing exercises isn’t to read or even remember the writing, but just to write. The one day I did do it (at the end of my lunch break at work, I wrote like I was on fire, and things devolved so quickly into worse-than-chickenscratch that I felt ashamed. Then the cycle of Not Writing began again.

So longhand evangelists: why is completing writing exercises in longhand so beneficial? Does it really help a writer’s growth? Is there any hope for me if I’m so terrible at it?

What I read in 2015

Around August, I didn’t think I would complete this year’s Goodreads Reading Challenge. Sean gave me a new Kobo for my birthday (the waterproof one!) and I started reading again and in the last quarter of the year, surpassed my goal of 50 books.

Here’s the list. What did you read? Do you have any recommendations?

 

Melissa’s read-in-2015 book montage

I Still Dream About You
Stone Mattress: Nine Tales
The Vacationers
Adult Onset
How to Build a Girl
Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures
The Hour I First Believed
Bold Tricks
One Bird's Choice: A Year in the Life of an Overeducated, Underemployed Twenty-Something Who Moves Back Home
Surrender, Dorothy
On Every Street
Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered
The Position
Captivated by You
Christopher's Diary: Secrets of Foxworth
Christopher's Diary: Echoes of Dollanganger
The Girl on the Train
When Everything Feels Like the Movies
Bad Feminist
I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame



Melissa’s favorite books »

What I’ve been reading: Overwhelmed by Brigid Schulte

Overwhelmed_BookCoverI finally finished Overwhelmed: Work, Love, And Play When No One Has The Time by Brigid Schulte earlier this week. It had been on my to-read list for over a year, which feels about right given the subject matter.

I continued to align with the subject matter as I read the book. As I was going to bed, I checked my email one last time to discover that the ebook was finally available from the library. I set a reminder on my phone to remember to load the book onto my ereader at 6:15am the next morning so I could have it for my commute. When the library’s website wouldn’t work after multiple attempts, I went to make Flora’s lunch and came back to try to download it one more time. That’s when I missed my train and was late for work.

I spent several train trips home reading this book. I was visibly emotional more than once during the early parts of the book. I related to so much of what Ms Schulte was talking about: the fragmented bits of time (called Time Confetti), the feeling that nothing was truly getting done. The Overwhelm. My sadness turned to anger as I read – and related to – the data, stories and anecdotes spelling out what I’ve believed for a long time: the way we work – and by extension, live and play –  is wrong, and we can do better.

I was relieved when the end of the book didn’t end with big promises of a new life, if only you did the following three things. It didn’t read like a self-help book and it didn’t feel overly academic or dry. It was readable and relatable, which explains my occasional crying jag while reading it.

I am so grateful to Ms Schulte to writing such a thoughtful, readable book on something that is so close to my heart at this stage in my life. I am a serious fangirl of her work that I’ve seen and read online. I’m still working on how to apply what I’ve learned but isn’t that always a work in progress for all of us.

Here’s some further reading:

 

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
This work by Melissa Price-Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada.