The New Mouse in Town

In my pocket. That’s where I like to keep my books.

I mean, I like to keep all my things in my pockets–my phone, my keys, my wallet, you know, the usual stuff, but also my GameBoy and my DS and, yes, even my books.

But growing up and reading bigger books (and somehow wearing pants with fewer pockets… RIP the days of cargo shorts being in style), it was just no longer practical.

At least until I joined the Mouse Book Club.

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Read Me

If I were Alice, I’d have exhausted my share of Drink Me’s and Eat Me’s with all the time life has made me feel bigger or smaller than I am. It’s a part of growing up (thinking you’re bigger than the world, to learn you’re not) and becoming an adult (thinking you’re too small for survival, to learn you’re not so small at all), but if I’ve got one thing on Alice, it’s all the Read Me’s piled up around me house.

On my nightstand. My coffee table. My kitchen table. The bookshelves. The floor.

Books abound, beneath my TV, beside my couch. It’s a glorious feeling.

Except all that Read Me is getting a bit too much to swallow. Would it be too apt a metaphor to say I’ve got the words stuck in my throat, sentences strung around my molars and tethered to my tongue?

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On Being ManKind

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a Kickstarter campaign for a collection of books called Being ManKind–an intentional lapse of grammatical convention. The series tries to break free of gendered norms and stereotypes, the toxic masculinity we’ve all come to hate.

I’ve been wanting to write about why I support the project and why I think you should, too, but it’s been busy. So much of the last few weeks has gone straight into dealing with that kind of gender bias (in the classroom) that I haven’t had a second to write.

Now there’s little more than sixteen hours to go, and to be successfully funded, it needs to bring in about a thousand dollars every hour until it ends.

So, sure, there’ll be an ask at the end, but there’s (kinda) a story until we get there, too.

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Words on Words

So it’s been a month since I wrote last. And it’s been a week since I got home from Teach for America’s summer training, called Institute: a non-stop five weeks full of professional development (of questionable efficacy), lesson planning and execution, and getting to know my first class of students. It was intense. I’m still recovering.

Which means I’m still processing everything I learned and everything I experienced: It was information overload to its finest, and now that I’m “back in reality,” in addition to making sense of everything, the confusion is compounded by the quest to secure housing in Milwaukee, planning my move in two weeks, and arranging visits with my friends in North Carolina before I leave. It’s been incredibly overwhelming.

I intend–and we know what we say about intentions–to share my thoughts on Institute more fully at a later time (after I’ve considered more deeply what I’m willing to share, and what’s in my best interest to keep private), and with all the uncertainty in my life right now, it’s difficult to articulate any amount of profundity on current events.

So to write something, I’m writing a post on words–in particular, the words I’m reading.

The Five Books I'm Presently Reading

The five books I’m presently reading–and what the rest of this post is about.

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For the Love of Books

It’s Valentine’s Day, and since my husband-to-be and I are still some 1600 miles apart and both generally loathe the holiday anyways, I figured I’d play around with some of my other loves–such as my love of books, both writing them and reading them.

Because, honestly, who wants a box of chocolate when you can be given a book?

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The First Rainbow

Long before rainbow colors signified the LGBT community for me, they signified Reading Rainbow: a children’s program I watched growing up that helped inspire me to read. I remember watching as they turned the pages, illustrations seamlessly becoming animations, and always wanting to get these books to read myself.

I never did, but just knowing about them made me eager to read–made me look forward to library trips and the discovery and adventure awaiting inside each and every book.

I grew up and Reading Rainbow was replaced by other shows, my interest in children’s books replaced by young adult series, and I never thought about that iconic theme song that still brings me back to my youth. Then, not so long ago, I stumbled across this Kickstarter campaign to bring Reading Rainbow back to kids everywhere.

Immediately I became a backer.

But there’s still more to do, more children to help Reading Rainbow inspire. I would not have become the person I am today if not for the books I’ve read, and I might not have read anything if shows like Reading Rainbow hadn’t encouraged me to read and made books as much fun as any action figure or play set. Reading is the foundation of all learning, and to help our country–to help the world–be all that it can be, we must help our children learn to love reading. And I believe Reading Rainbow can help us achieve this goal.

Will you please help us change the world, one child at a time?

Click here to make a $5 (US) donation, or here to visit the campaign’s Kickstarter page.

When you back Reading Rainbow, let me know! As a campaign volunteer, they’d like a tally of how many backers I recruit, but more so I want thank each of you individually..

On Becoming Bilingual

The subways in Mexico City aren’t just empty tunnels: they’re entire underground cities, museums that stretch from one platform to the next, dark corridors lit with black lights illuminating the zodiac’s constellations.

We had just finished looking at models of the city as the Aztecs had built it, as the Spanish had rebuilt it, and finally as the country of Mexico had constructed it today, when I turned to my boyfriend and asked, “What language do you think in?”

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The Sci-Fi That Should’ve Been

Some things we can’t choose–our skin color, our parents, our aptitude for eyesight and how soon we need glasses, or perhaps how soon we lose our hair, or perhaps how long it takes us to remember what we were doing before we completely forget it. But some things we can choose–what we consume, how we spend our time, what we study.

This isn’t a list about choices. This is a list about all those things chosen for me–things that maybe I would’ve done differently had I the foresight to know better, the insight into my own destiny as the world shaped it for me.

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A Trick of the Light

I finally retired last night sometime between three and four. I fell fast into sleep, into a world of vague and empty dreams, a world free from all the distress and anxiety that has overwhelmed me during the day and deep into the night. When my alarm went off this morning, I wearily opened my eyes, turned it off, and sent a text to my mom to leave a half-hour later than planned. I needed the extra sleep.

It took me four trips to bring everything downstairs and about four more to load the car. As I got inside, I found my anxiousness had mostly dissipated–but the day was still beginning.

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A Muggle, a Man, and the Wizard Among Them

For me it began by accident. I wasn’t ever much of a strong reader in my youth. In fact I had struggled to read for most of my time remembering how to do it. It never came naturally. I supposed books and I would never be such great friends.

What changed was a challenge. My library had a summer reading contest (for although I don’t find myself to be incredibly competitive, when it comes down to it, I find many of my motivations have been incredibly competitive in nature), and if you read a certain number of pages, you received a certain number of points, and if you received a certain number of points, you received a prize.

So I read. Small books, children’s books, ones much less than I could have and should have been reading at the time. But I read them. And then, right before the end, I had a tally of all my pages–and they wanted a book’s title. But I hadn’t written any down.

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