When I was job-hunting, one of the things that I found to be somewhat of a pain was having to complete a job application with the same exact informatiWhen I was job-hunting, one of the things that I found to be somewhat of a pain was having to complete a job application with the same exact information as on my resume. I know there are reasons for such, but it just always struck me as something that took entirely too long – and I don’t have nearly as many jobs in my history as most people.
Now, I can be thankful that I’m not Claudia Shear, who writes in her memoir-turned-one-woman-show Blown Sideways Through Life about the 64 different jobs she’s held – and quit, and been fired from, too.
“She worked as (among other things) a pastry chef, a nude model, a waitress (a lot), a receptionist in a whorehouse, a brunch chef on Fire Island, a proofreader on Wall Street (a lot), and an Italian translator.” ~ from the book jacket
Told in essay format, on their own these stories seem to be simply a collection of “I had this crappy job, I hated it even there was this cool person or two that I worked with, but I wound up telling the owner to go fuck off, so I got fired or quit.”
Repeat. Repeat again. Sixty times.
This is billed as “a hilarious tour de resume,” which made me think that I was going to be in for a very funny read. Although there are certainly some amusing moments as Ms. Shear is sharing anecdotes about her various jobs, something about this kind of irked me and it took me awhile to figure out why. Because I can understand this “take this job and shove it” mentality once, maybe a couple times in one’s career… but not 64 times.
Finally, it dawned on me: I’m reading this in the wrong decade.
Because no way, no how does anyone, in this 2014 economy, treat 64 jobs with that kind of laissez-faire attitude. But Blown Sideways By Life wasn’t written in 2014; it was published nearly 20 years ago, when life was all kinds of different, indeed.
The takeaway is what matters, though, and it’s timeless. It’s especially relevant for this economy. It’s a reminder that every person taking your order, bagging your groceries, cleaning your hotel room, answering the phone, sweeping the floor, and getting your food is more than their job. You got that, right? We, you, they are more than our jobs.
“You talk to the people who serve you the food the same way you talk to the people you eat the food with. You talk to the people who work for you the same way you talk to the people you work for…
“Sitting on rooftops, desktops, countertops, under counters; perched on milk crates, wine crates, paper cartons, front steps, hanging out in back alleys, deserted cafeterias, spooky hallways, we are all the same: a motley crew of artsy-fartsy types and single mothers and social misfits and immigrants who work six days, double shifts and send all the money home. We are people in recovery, people in denial, gay guys shocking the shit out of pizza guys from Queens – and vice versa. We all fit in because none of us belongs anywhere. And, boy, what you can learn: dirty words in every language and the fact that nobody is just a typist, just a dishwasher, just a cook, just a porter, just a prostitute. That everyone has a story. Everyone has at least one story that will stop your heart.” (pg. 114-115) ...more
As a child of the ’70s and ’80s growing up in Connellsville, PA, a working-class town located 57 miles south of Pittsburgh, Karen’s life is fairly preAs a child of the ’70s and ’80s growing up in Connellsville, PA, a working-class town located 57 miles south of Pittsburgh, Karen’s life is fairly predictable. Both of her parents work different shifts at Anchor Glass, a local bottle factory in town. They’re the proverbial ships passing in the night; their daughters Karen and Linda are latchkey children during an era when such arrangements were not only acceptable but very much the norm.
In March 1985, the Anchor Glass plant was the scene of a mass shooting by a disgruntled former employee who killed several colleagues of Karen’s parents. The incident devastated and shook the town, and although Ms. Dietrich’s parents were not at the plant at the time of the murders, it was certainly a traumatic incident.
A sidenote: the book jacket and promotional copy give the impression that the killings and the aftermath are the focus of this memoir. It is not. In fact, it’s almost downplayed. I’m somewhat perplexed by that, actually; I didn’t live in the Pittsburgh area during that timeframe and I don’t remember any news coverage of this incident – probably because March 1985 was pretty damn traumatic in my own life.
So let’s just leave it at this: I sincerely hope that the murder of four people wasn’t used as a marketing ploy to sell some books.
Because the reality is that The Girl Factory works perfectly fine – and then some – on its own as a coming-of-age memoir about Karen’s relationship with her emotionally cold and ultra-superstitious mother, the changing dynamics of families over time and generations, and the power of unspoken truths on our lives.
“Some stories belong to my mother, if it’s possible to own a story, to carry it inside a small case you wear, perhaps one that fits inside your shoe, invisible to most people. She only takes the stories out of the case for me, not Linda, not my father, not the women she talks to on the phone. Just me. Sometimes, I feel like the stories were written just for me, so that maybe I can carry a small case of my own stories some day, so I will remember the shape of suffering.” (pg. 12)
If Karen needs a reminder of the shape of suffering, all she needs to do is pick up her book. That’s not meant as an insult. Quite the opposite, actually. It’s incredibly well-written (Ms. Dietrich nails the ’80s references, even some that I had forgotten) but the sadness that comes through every page can seem overwhelming. There’s so much lost here, so very, very much.
But so much to gain, on the reader’s part.
I listened to this on audio, which was an excellent choice. Cassandra Campbell is one of the best audiobook narrators (and one of my favorites) and she doesn’t disappoint with The Girl Factory. ...more
The issue with not being able to finish this is completely mine, as I'm having a really hard time with this one. I don't think I am cut out for memoirThe issue with not being able to finish this is completely mine, as I'm having a really hard time with this one. I don't think I am cut out for memoirs of painful, abusive childhoods. I really don't.
I only got several dozen pages into this, but that was enough. I have no tolerance for a mother calling her young daughters sluts and whores. I know this sort of situation happens (I've worked in the child abuse and domestic violence fields) and I'm thankful that Regina is able to now use her experience to help other children in similar circumstances, but this one is just too emotionally trying for me. Sorry. ...more
I am, however, very much of a Mark Doty person. Whatever that guy writes I will gladly read.
And the way MarkI confess – I am not much of a dog person.
I am, however, very much of a Mark Doty person. Whatever that guy writes I will gladly read.
And the way Mark Doty writes of his golden retriever Beau and his black retriever Arden in Dog Years makes me want to go right out and adopt 10 dogs. One of every color and size, it doesn’t matter. I want them all.
I adore this book, just like I adore all of Mark Doty’s other books I’ve read. That’s because this isn’t a dog book in the traditional sense. Like Doty’s much-acclaimed memoir Heaven’s Coast (which may be the one book of his I haven’t read…yet), Dog Years is Mark Doty’s memoir chronicling his partner Wally’s passing from AIDS and beginning a new life. It’s about the healing power that Beau – who was adopted as a companion for Wally as he was dying – gave to him during his time of grief – and about how we find strength to look forward in the midst of sorrow.
“Can hope really be in vain, can you be harmed by hope? Obviously, there is hope that amounts to nothing, in terms of the wished-for result, the longed-for cure, the desired aim. But is that hope in vain, is it simply lost? Or can we say that there’s some way it makes a contribution to the soul – as if one had been given some internal version of those steroid shots, a dose of strengthening?
Hope is leaven; it makes things rise without effort. I have moved forward at times without hope, when Wally was sick and dying, and there wasn’t a thing in the world to do but ease his way. Without hope, you hunker down and do what needs to be done in this hour; you do not attend to next week. It is somehow like writing without any expectation or belief that one will ever be read – only worse, since a Dickinson secreting her poems away in private folios sewn by hand expects, at some unknowable time, her treasure to be found, her words to be read. Hopelessness means you do the work at hand without looking for a future.” (pg. 120)...more
In the parenting sandbox that has become the Internet, one can usually find two types of people.
There are those who, through their websites and blogs,In the parenting sandbox that has become the Internet, one can usually find two types of people.
There are those who, through their websites and blogs, paint a picture of a life so saccharine perfect that you need to leave the room for some air.
(None of you or your blogs fall into this category, of course.)
And then there are people who are all raw emotion - and then some. Through their words, we come to know these individuals better than we know our own friends and relatives- and sometimes that's a good thing. Their bravery allows them to bare their souls as they tell the unvarnished truth about their lives.
In her new book, Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed, Glennon Doyle Melton falls into the latter camp - for the most part. (More on that in a bit.) As the cover proclaims, she's the founder of Momastery.com, an immensely popular blog, website, and Facebook page (she has over 73,000 likes!) that I am obviously the last person in the world to find out about.
As she writes in this collection of essays from her blog (as well as new material), Glennon is the type of person who sits down next to another sippy-cup clutching mom in the park and immediately reveals that she's a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, among other things.
Glennon's philosophy is that when women remove all the pretense and the barriers, when we strip away the illusion that we have our shit together in our perfect lives, when we take away the layers of protection that we women are so good at creating in real life (and online), that's when life gets really good and interesting.
Well, that it does.
We know Glennon pretty well by the end of Carry On, Warrior, as there isn't too much she leaves hidden - including that of the lives of several of her family members. But she's also funny as hell and tells much of this motherhood gig like it is. As an example, one of her gone-viral essays, "Don't Carpe Diem", was sent to me as a sample of those in the book when I was considering this for review. (I was sold immediately.)
I can't quote from this (or another favorite essay, "Out to Lunch," about visiting her husband Craig's office with their toddler son) because my copy of Carry On, Warrior is an advanced reader's copy (ARC) and changes may have been made to the final text.
Glennon is at her best in these and other "keepin' it real" examples. At other times, I felt that she strayed a bit from this premise. It's clear from the essays selected within the book that, because of her past experience, faith is a very important component to her present life. (Fans of Anne Lamott's will find common ground here, and Glennon seems very aware of the comparison.) Glennon is very open about her relationship with God and her beliefs as a Christian. I can certainly understand and respect that, but for readers who don't share the same faith, several of the essays that have this strong focus could seem slightly off-putting and perhaps even contradictory, seeming to support the notion of perfectionism that is denounced in earlier pages.
Overall, Carry On, Warrior succeeds as an outreach avenue in Glennon Doyle Melton's ministry that she practices on her blog, complementing her mantra to "practice living bigger, bolder and truer on this earth, where we remember what we already know: we can do hard things, love wins, and we belong to each other." This collection of essays will endear her even more to her legion of fans and surely lead her to new ones....more
With all that Elie Wiesel has lived through,and with all the horrors of life that he has experienced firsthand, one might assume (as I erroneously didWith all that Elie Wiesel has lived through,and with all the horrors of life that he has experienced firsthand, one might assume (as I erroneously did) that he would be all right - at peace, even - with the possibility of dying.
You would be wrong.
"Long ago, over there, death lay in wait for us at every moment, but it is now, eternities later, that it shall have its way. I feel it." (pg. 17)
"Hadn't I lived with death, even in death? Why should I be afraid now? Yet, this is not how I imagined my end. And in no way did I feel ready. So many things still to be achieved. So many projects to be completed. So many challenges yet to face. So many prayers yet to compose, so many words yet to discover, so many courses yet to give, so many lessons yet to receive." (pg. 22-23)
At the time of the writing of this book, Elie Wiesel is 82 years old and facing heart bypass surgery. Open Heart, then, is Wiesel's perfectly-titled reflection on his life as he prepares for what could be the end of it.
And that's where, despite his extraordinary life, Elie Wiesel is no different than anyone else facing his or her own mortality in the form of a scary diagnosis or medical condition. In such instances, it's natural to reflect back on one's life and work, to recount the decisions made and the roads traveled.
He shares how he met his wife Marion, their life's work together, and his joyful memories on the birth of their son and grandchildren. He returns to the Holocaust, the pain of losing all of his immediate family in a concentration camp and his devotion to them. ("In truth, my father never leaves me. Nor do my mother and little sister. They have stayed with me, appearing in every one of my tales, in every one of my dreams. In everything I teach." pg. 53)
In Open Heart, there are questions. Big ones, without answers. (At least, not right now.)
"Have I performed my duty as a survivor? Have I transmitted all I was able to? Too much, perhaps? ....I feel the words [in Night] are not right and that I could have said it better...In my imagination, I turn the pages." (pg. 40-41)
If it seems as if I'm quoting more from this slim little book than offering my own thoughts, I am. I mean, hello! - it's Elie Wiesel. He just has a way with words, and while there aren't many in them in Open Heart (a book that I read in less than an hour), they are ones that most of us - when faced with a health scare of our own - could relate to.
(They are ones that have, for many reviewers of this book, been panned for being either too trite or not enough. My take is the opposite; this is meant to be a comfort, I think, for people who are going through their own trials.)
Open Heart ends optimistically. (Wiesel obviously survives his bypass surgery, even with the surgeon telling him upon his awakening, "You've come back from far away.") It is a reaffirmation of what kind of person one wants to be with whatever time is left remaining and a call to action to each of us to open our own hearts in making the necessary choices.
"A credo that defines my path:
I belong to a generation that has often felt abandoned by God and betrayed by mankind. And yet, I believe that we must not give up on either.
Was it yesterday - or long ago - that we learned how human beings have been able to attain perfection in cruelty? That for the killers, the torturers, it is normal, thus human, to act inhumanely? Should one therefore turn away from humanity?
The answer, of course, is up to each of us. We must choose between the violence of adults and the smiles of children, between the ugliness of hate and the will to oppose it. Between inflicting suffering and humiliation on our fellow man and offering him the solidarity and hope he deserves. Or not.
I know - I speak from experience - that even in darkness it is possible to create light and encourage compassion. That it is possible to feel free inside a prison. That even in exile, friendship exists and can become an anchor. That one instant before dying, man is still immortal.
There it is: I still believe in man in spite of man. I believe in language even though it has been wounded, deformed and perverted by the enemies of mankind. And I continue to cling to words because it is up to us to transform them into instruments of comprehension rather than contempt. It is up to us to choose whether we wish to use them to curse or to heal, to wound or to console." (pg. 72-73) ...more
During a critique session, someone in my writing group asked me about my motivation for my novel-in-progress. It’s set in the midst of the AIDS epidemDuring a critique session, someone in my writing group asked me about my motivation for my novel-in-progress. It’s set in the midst of the AIDS epidemic and is a young adult novel based on real-life experiences. It’s a story that I’m compelled to tell for several reasons.
I thought about my answer for a minute before responding to my friend.
“I don’t want this story to be forgotten,” I said simply, adding that for my kids’ generation, the fear and the panic of AIDS – not to mention the blatant indifference from the government – has become the stuff of ancient history.
Borrowed Time brings it all back.
Paul Monette’s memoir about caring for his partner Roger Horwitz during his fight with AIDS is, without a doubt, one of the most powerfully affecting memoirs I’ve ever read – about AIDS or otherwise. It doesn’t matter that this was published in 1988. This is timeless.
Drawing heavily from Paul’s journals, Borrowed Time has a chronological feel to it, giving the reader the feeling of being in medias res during the nineteen months from Roger’s diagnosis in March 1985 to his death in October 1986. It’s unabashedly human and raw, as Paul spills emotions of anger and frustration, admitting what he doesn’t remember and portraying vividly what he does.
Living with AIDS feels akin to living on the moon, Paul writes, and that metaphor – along with the symbolism of light and dark – shows up frequently in Borrowed Time. In 1985, that’s how it was; AIDS patients and those caring for them were very much on a different planet than the rest of society.
The writing in Borrowed Time is spectacularly gorgeous. There’s not a single page where Paul Monette doesn’t leave a piece of his heart while taking part of his reader’s.
“Hope had left us so unprepared. We had grown so grateful for little things. Out of nowhere you go from light to dark, from winning to losing, go to sleep murmuring thanks and wake to an endless siren. The honeymoon was over, that much was clear. Now we would learn to borrow time in earnest, day by day, making what brief stays we could against the downward spiral from which all our wasted brothers did not return.” (pg. 183)
Borrowed Time is a lot of things. It’s a roller-coaster ride; one minute Roger is well and the next he is near death. It’s a testament to the bond of friendship, because not only do Paul and Roger have a support system of close friends, they also know the right people in 1985 to be able to access drugs like suramin and AZT and protocols that buy Roger extra time.
Borrowed Time is maddening as hell, because of what we know now. (“It will be recorded that the dead in the first decade of the calamity died of our indifference.” (pg. 18). It’s about family. It’s about the very real emotions of being the primary caregiver for someone who is terminally ill. It gets at the unbearable burden of secrecy that was absolutely necessary to protect the people we loved.
Above all, Borrowed Time is a story about what it means to truly love someone. It’s impossible to come away from this without realizing how very much in love Paul and Roger were, which is part of what gives this memoir its overwhelming sadness.
Paul Monette died of AIDS in 1995, nine years after Roger’s passing. From a literary perspective, the mind reels at the loss of such an immensely talented writer as Paul Monette. It’s impossible not to think of what might have been if things had been different, in so many ways....more
I Remember Nothing is narrated by Nora Ephron herself - so given her recent passing, hearing her distinctive voice is kind of bittersweet at first.
JaI Remember Nothing is narrated by Nora Ephron herself - so given her recent passing, hearing her distinctive voice is kind of bittersweet at first.
But the humor more than makes up for it, of course, and listening to this three CD recording is like listening to an old friend (or a new one who feels like an old friend). In this audiobook, Ephron peppers her personal essays with phrases such as "I have to tell you," and "I am not proud of this."
I Remember Nothing almost has the feeling of being two books in one. The first part is Nora recounting all the everyday as well as significant and historical happenings in her life that she can't remember or may only remember trivial details of.
And we're talking MAJOR events. Things like meeting Eleanor Roosevelt, being outside the White House on the evening Nixon resigned, and covering the Beatles as they performed on The Ed Sullivan Show.
"On some level, my life has been wasted on me. After all, if I can't remember it, who can?" she says.
These recollections (or, what Ephron can recall about them) are among the best part of I Remember Nothing. The rest is more along the lines of reflections and musings on various topics such as divorce, email (a section that feels a little dated), thinning hair, and other vestiges of growing older. The essay about having a meatloaf named after her in a restaurant is especially well-done, and there's a poignant story about her plans for a potential inheritance from an uncle that will resonate with every writer. (Ephron was struggling with a screenplay at the time and the windfall from the uncle would have made that go away. We would have also not have had one of our most classic movies.)
There is a passage about her being on her deathbed, which is just downright eerie now. And the ending of I Remember Nothing, two lists of "What I Won't Miss" and "What I Will Miss" (after she has gone) is bittersweet and prompts a bit of reflection on what one will miss (and not miss) of one's own life.
Still, at the risk of seeming to speaking ill of the dead, I Remember Nothing feels a little ... disjointed. If you're familiar with Ephron's movies and her writing, you won't find much new ground here. What you will find is Ephron's trademark snark and sardonic wit, some good entertainment and laughs if you're in a bit of a funk and need a quick hit of humor to relieve you ... and an ironic, bittersweet reminder that despite her feeling of growing old, Ephron really wasn't as old as she thought she was....more
Anna Quindlen's LOTS OF CANDLES, PLENTY OF CAKE is a look back on a life of being married, working, raising children - and figuring out who exactly yoAnna Quindlen's LOTS OF CANDLES, PLENTY OF CAKE is a look back on a life of being married, working, raising children - and figuring out who exactly you're meant to be once those roles that have defined you shift and change.
While there isn't anything wrong with the writing or the various essays in this book - Anna herself seems delightful, approachable, someone who would be the ideal friend (and indeed, there's a nice section on the value and importance of girlfriends) - there's a sense of feeling like I’ve heard all this before, despite not having been a reader of Anna Quindlen's New York Times columns and having only read one other of her novels.
And maybe that's why I couldn't quite connect with this one. With so many books and blogs and pieces being circulated on Facebook by our friends with the one-word "THIS." with requisite period meaning that I'm-fucking-serious-that-you-need-to-read-this, perhaps there simply has been a spate of authors of a certain age and at a certain stage of their lives writing, as Anna Quindlen does here, about how they were the daughters of the feminists, how they were told they could do anything, how raising kids and working and having it all wasn’t as fulfilling as everyone said it would be, and how nobody wanted to admit this and that everyone thought it was just them who felt that way. Finally, there comes a time – maybe sparked by a milestone birthday or a life crisis – when you just accept your life as it is, find your own path, and say the hell with all that.
Overall, it doesn’t feel like Quindlen is saying anything groundbreaking or new here. That's not to disparage this book or s. Quindlen's writing. Rather, I think my generation (I turn 45 next month) has learned many a lesson from the Anna Quindlens (thank you, Anna) and the Nora Ephrons (thank you, Nora) and as a result, are taking the life experiences to heart and figuring these things out for ourselves sooner rather than later. ...more
Is that not the most gorgeous cover ever? It's spectacular, and the story that is Made for You and Me is one of the best-written and engrossing memoirIs that not the most gorgeous cover ever? It's spectacular, and the story that is Made for You and Me is one of the best-written and engrossing memoirs that I've read. It's the story behind the statistics of what has been, for countless people, the disappearance of their American dreams at the hands of the American recession.
It doesn't take a psychologist to figure out that the reason this one resonated so much with me is because I identify with Caitlin and Dan so much. Our story is very different, yet there's some similarities.
In November 2007, we moved to a different state and into a large beautiful house that represented everything we had worked for during the past two decades. Yeah, in hindsight we didn't need to buy The American Dream, but isn't that what we're taught to do, to aspire to, to believe in? We're conditioned to believe in the possibility of new beginnings, to chase our dreams and to take a risk and a chance. So we started what we believed to be a new chapter - but then one person and then another and then another beat us down. The housing market plummeted, the economy crashed into a recession, the writing was beginning to be written on the wall in a Sharpie marker. We decided that we could either wait for the inevitable or get out of that state - mentally and physically - while we could. The Husband took a new job six hours away, I got fired, we sold the dream house at a huge loss and wiped out everything we'd saved to cover the loss and try to preserve our credit and keep our family intact. (Both of which we did. Thankfully.)
W're luckier than most and fortunate to have what we have (and had), but like many Americans and in the words of John Lennon, we're starting over. The logistics - finding an apartment and our way around a new city, finding new jobs and schools - have all come together (and kind of nicely, really). What's been harder is shaking the feeling, as Caitlin Shetterly writes in Made for You and Me (I AM getting to this review, really!) of "feeling essentially flattened," of feeling that we can no longer afford to dream.
Caitlin and her husband Dan were like many young married couples when "the recession came home" to them in December 2007. Dan's full-time job as a photographer was reduced to part-time, downsizing his salary by more than a third. A second job as a bouncer didn't help cover the rent on their apartment (Caitlin worked as a freelancer and with a theater company she'd founded). Knowing that their lives would be changing dramatically, they decided to move from Maine to Los Angeles in hopes of new opportunities.
Caitlin writes of their journey west in poignant passages like these reflections upon driving through Washington, D.C. at night: "Even in the dark, the majesty of our white buildings and gray stone structures, shining with a post-rain sheen, belied the pain of a country embroiled in two endless wars, beginning a devastating recession, with many of its values and laws so desperately challenged that the people were morally lost and defeated. The alabaster monuments stood, powerfully silent. Dan said, 'I hope I never get this close to George Bush again,' and we both halfheartedly chuckled, because the purpose of our journey west and the place we found ourselves in as a nation really were sobering facts." (pg. 49)
"As we got farther and farther away from home, America seemed so big and bruised and foreign that our sense of who we were felt complicated by each mile we traversed. And it was this complication, possibly, that made the journey worth it. As we went, we were becoming citizens of America, really, not just of one place, one state, one town. We were witnessing our selves and our hopes, dreams and goals against the backdrop of places and people we didn't know or even, maybe, relate to. This rootlessness kept us wonderfully open to seeing and experiencing everything around us with the freshness of babies." (pg. 53-54)
Caitlin and Dan's dream turned out to be ... well, the stuff that John Lennon was talking about when he said that life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.
Finding work (and enough of it) to sustain themselves proved to be more of a challenge in California now that the country was in a recession. Safe and affordable housing became an issue. And then Caitlin became pregnant, with life-threatening complications during the entire nine months. A beloved pet died. The bottom was quickly dropping out of their world, taking with it the hopes and dreams of the new life they had planned for themselves.
"Still, for us, in our young marriage, in our story of of our lives falling apart while we tried to do whatever it took to take care of our son, our dog and ourselves, we felt, essentially, flattened. Actually, it was worse than that: What we felt was that we could no longer dream. That was, possibly, the most dangerous aspect of what had happened to us." (pg. 3)
Made for You and Me has its roots in Caitlin's emails to friends and family as she chronicled her and Dan's journey west. The emails turned into a blog, which turned into a feature on NPR. Being so open with her story has made others see themselves in her story (as I certainly did), but it has also brought out the snarks who consider Caitlin to be whiny (I did not find that to be the case at all; you would know it if I did). There are the cynics who espouse a "woulda-shoulda-coulda" attitude. They shouldn't have moved. If they would only get out of this dream world of being freelancers and get a real job, things would be fine. They shouldn't have had a baby.
Isn't it funny how everyone becomes an expert on life when it's not their own?
The thing is, we all make choices and decisions based on our circumstances and on what we feel are the best options at that time. Some work out, some don't - and when it's the latter, it's hard enough beating yourself up without having other people lining up to do it for you. It doesn't mean you don't appreciate what you have. It's that sometimes when you've lost so much and are hanging by a thread, you're too scared of losing what little you have because then where will you be?
I really liked Made for You and Me because there are very few of us who have not been affected by this prolonged recession, and stories like Caitlin and Dan's remind us that we're not alone. I think that is so very important in these times, to know that there are others who are struggling to make our way, to pick up the pieces of what remains. There's some comfort in that, in knowing that there are others who are also very scared about what our personal and collective futures hold and that, just like this land was made for you and me, it's going to take all of us, together, to try and get there. ...more