Book-of-the-Month.

To Be Worn Anytime.

A Short Critique of Going Away Shoes by Jill McCorkle

Barefoot & Not Pregnant, 2022.
Original Photo by SnapDragon X.
All rights reserved, yo.

Hey girl hey!

Guess who actually finished a book, her first one of the year?

(obnoxiously waves both hands and smiles)

Yep. I realize it’s halfway through 2022, and this is a pretty pathetic reading count for a supposed bookworm like me. But you know what? Life gets busy, yo. The days zip right on by. And I refuse to rush my sacred reading time. I’ll finish when I finish.

(I also checked the Notes on my iPhone, and I haven’t even touched my 100 Classics Reading Challenge in over a year. I, uhh, (coughs) have 95 books left to read. IN FIVE YEARS. I may have bitten off more than I can chew on that one.)

BUT ANYWAY.

I read this book. And I loved it. And here’s why.

. . .

Going Away Shoes (Stories) by Jill McCorkle (2009)

Sometimes I’m all but certain I’m a freak of nature.

Like… I honestly think no one else really gets it. I often feel like I’m some cynical, opinionated d-bag, who comes across to most people as just another wannabe hipster.

Let me assure you: I do not want to be a hipster.*

I just want to be honest. And I wish more people would do the same.

So when I read McCorkle’s work, I felt. . . like I instantly had a friend. I felt like she. . . got it.

Her prose is simple, yet stunning in its insight. Her close third-person narrative is (dare I say it) on-par with Stephen King himself. You know her characters. You feel them. And achieving this through short stories—not a novel—is no easy task.

McCorkle illuminates the extraordinary among the ordinary—which I realize is pretty much my artistic goal in life.

Here’s just a tiny sample:

“She still drives Edwin’s copper-colored Electra, and has ever since he died almost two years ago. She would never have retired had she seen his death coming and with it an end to all their plans about where they wanted to go and what they wanted to do. One day she was complaining about plastic golf balls strewn all over the living room and the next she was calling 911 knowing even as she dialed and begged for someone to please help that it was too late” (McCorkle).

Anyway, this is another great literary find, friends.

I hope you enjoy it as I have.

. . .

SnapDragon is a wife, mother, and artist who always leaves room for dessert.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for her crazy-ass ramblings, reviews, and more.

. . .

*I know, I know. Spoken like a hipster.

Two-Bit Musings.

Shh.

Just Another Day in Paradise, Yo.

. . .

Hi. How are you, Dear Reader? How do you feel today: body, mind, and soul?

Pause. Think. Answer honestly.

Me? I’m doing just fine, thanks.

I’m currently sitting on our RV love seat, clicking past the miles somewhere between Ohio and Indiana. Sweet Baby Snap is sleeping; Toddler Snap is hopefully about to do the same up in his car seat.

I’m sipping iced coffee, laughingly shrugging at the insane diesel prices, and singing songs from Father John Misty’s latest album in my head.

I feel good.

. . .

I just turned 35.

Seems kinda weird, like that’s much too old and much too young, all at the same time. Sometimes I feel like I’ve lived a thousand lives; I also feel like I’ve just been born.

And when I close my eyes and quiet my mind, I think about this life. I think about how much I value the simple idea of respect.

I want to show respect in everything I do.

Toward other human beings, animals, and Mother Earth herself.

I want to respect other people’s time. I want to respect their turn to speak.

I want to respect the public goods we all need, like clean water and food. Health. Education. The arts and humanities.

I want it to be known that I respect you because not everything is about me.

. . .

(shrugs)

That’s it for now.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer and artist currently residing on Planet Earth.

Two-Bit Musings.

Is This the Real Life?*

(Is this just fantasy?)*

. . .

This morning started in ordinary fashion: soft baby grunts, a bottle feeding, and our son happily kicking about in our bed, trying to snag Daddy’s iPad from the nightstand.

(I also snuck a bite of raw cookie dough from the fridge at about 4 AM.)

And later on, when I was washing a few dishes here and there–in between sips of coffee, text messages, and sweet toddler yelps–I surprisingly found myself in a place of peace.

It never stops.

This is the life we’ve dreamed of.

. . .

My Sweet Husband and I frequently talk about how fast time passes, and usually these discussions accompany feelings of slight panic, and almost disapproval for how much we’ve achieved.

Sometimes it helps me to organize things, by breaking my life into distinct chapters:

SnapDragon’s Life, in Cheap One-Liners:

-Elementary School: Using Bright Colors for Everything

-Middle School: Being Self-Conscious AF

-High School: Having Fun ‘Rebelling Against Society’, as My Brother Would Say

-College: Not Letting Fear Rule My Life

-Teaching: Trying to Inspire in a Broken System

-Post-Teaching: Anxiety, Depression, & Artistic Discovery

-Motherhood: (Musical Interlude)**

. . .

Anyway, what I’m getting at is that no matter how hard we are on ourselves–no matter how little it seems we’ve done–we have arrived.

In high school I wanted nothing more than to read, write, and become a teacher.

Done.

In college I wanted to travel, paint, and have the type of fun only 20-somethings can.

Done.

Throughout my life I’ve dreamed of art, passion, friendships, and family. I dreamed of a house of my own.

Done, done, and done.

I’ve had moments where I’ve wanted nothing more than to be a stay-at-home Mom, tending to the house in between caring for a couple of little humans.

And here it all is, and here I am, in perfect disarray.

. . .

So, despite how it sounds, this doesn’t mean I’m finished. Just because I’ve accomplished some major goals doesn’t mean there aren’t more on the horizon. My middle school self would be quite proud of my high school self. College SnapDragon evolved into Teacher SnapDragon.

We all keep moving the bar, because really, isn’t that what it means to be alive?

I want to relish each moment, yet continue to plan for a kick-ass future.

. . .

You have done amazing things in this life, Dear Reader. So have I.

So just because you’re in the same sweatpants for three days in a row and haven’t yet brushed your teeth today, it doesn’t mean you’re slacking.***

We’re simply doing the best with the day we’ve got.

Right?

. . .

SnapDragon is an artist who just loves traditionally-feminine things.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for irreverent musings and more.

. . .

*These are Queen lyrics, obviously. Please tell me this footnote is not necessary.

**It’s way too hard to put into words, yo.

***Oh wait. That’s me.

Two-Bit Musings.

Hi.

It’s 2022.

I started the year with a fresh spirit. On New Year’s Day I diligently sat at our computer desk, typing the beginnings of an optimistic blog post.

And then shit went sideways.

Again.

Pre-eclampsia hit at the end of my 32nd week of pregnancy. Thanks to an extraordinary medical team, our daughter was born at exactly 34 weeks, and needed only ten days in the NICU.

I’m also elated to tell you she’s pretty much perfect.

Tiny, yes. But perfect.

And I thank my weary body for getting us through.

Here’s to the next leg of adventure in this crazy-ass life, yo.

Happy New Year, Dear Reader.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer who obsessively buys washcloths.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for a bit of this and that.

Two-Bit Musings.

October: A Month in Review.

So umm. . . yeah. I was going to do this for each month in 2021. This is the second time I remembered. Oh well. So it goes.

. . .

1. Trick or Treat, Yo. October is my favorite month, and pretty much always has been. It’s mysterious somehow, which comforts a literary old-soul like me. Toddler Snap and I have been out each and everyday, living it up. I try to capture the beauty of the leaves on my phone, but alas, the magic inevitably eludes the camera. We also carved our first Jack o’ Lantern as a family, and I literally tell my husband each day that it makes me happy in my young heart.

2. Small Comforts. Each day is different, Dear Reader. Sometimes I wake up feeling like a kick-ass SnapDragon, and other days I wake up feeling like a termite-infested tree stump. So I savor every moment I can. I dip into the candy dish. I watch an episode of Frasier before bed. I remind myself that sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. I remind myself that every feeling comes and goes.

3. Time for a Trim. It’s no surprise I’m a fan of the simple life: give me my SnapDragon Family, some quality food and cinema, and I’m good to go, yo. There are only so many hours in the day, and I vow to spend them on people and things that enrich my soul. Ain’t nobody got time for bullshit, am I right?

I am just one person in this infinite universe.

And so are you, love.

So are you.

Wishing a Happy November to everyone out there!

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer who frequently orders drinks with extra ice.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for her chronicles of everyday life.

Two-Bit Musings.

A Welcome Breeze.

This & That from Yours Truly.

. . .

Hi! And greetings from my parked car.

I’ve got the AC chilling on low, Toddler Snap snoozing in his car seat, and a pumpkin iced latte within reach. Each sip reminds me of pleasant fall mornings in my classroom. Singing along with Regina Spektor as I readied myself for a day of chaotic happiness.

I smile.

. . .

1. All I can hear is the steady hum of my FJ Cruiser. I watch my fellow suburbanites scurry across the parking lot, to who knows where. A storm is brewing, and the gently trembling leaves on the pre-planned shrubbery soothes me somehow.

2. My eyebrows need to be plucked. It’s funny how I used to do this every day in college. Now the need only strikes about once a month. Funny how our bodies change.

3. I’ve always been a thinker. I suppose it’s hard to be a writer and artist and not think about things until your stomach literally hurts. And I’ve been privileged with the gift of time. Even at my busiest, I’m never worried about where my next meal will come from or if I’m physically safe to leave my house. This allows my mind to reflect, to grow. It allows me to wonder what kind of wife I am. What kind of friend, daughter, and sister. I think about these things, then I think some more. Who am I?

4. I’m pregnant. Yep. The Littlest Snap is scheduled to be here in late February. Here’s to an uneventful, full-term delivery. #ptsd

5. I saw a picture of a pot-bellied pig today that made me ridiculously happy. It was so big and chubby that it almost looked like a cartoon. I wanted to give it a hug, and name it something like Stanley or Walter or George.

Wishing you well, Dear Reader. Take time for joy today.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer and reader of delicious paperbacks.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for who knows what.

Two-Bit Musings.

Let it Roll.

A short musing from your girl SnapDragon.

. . .

Hi! Happy Monday, friends.

And greetings from my bed, where Henry the Cat and I are taking a moment just to be.

The whir of the ceiling fan, the clink-clank of zippers in the dryer, and a lawn mower in the distance are somehow soothing my weary soul.

It’s a new day, and I feel good.

I feel comforted by boxed mac n’ cheese and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I feel happy when I sing Father John Misty songs on the top of my lungs. I feel loved by so many good people in this world.

And as Back-to-School Time begins–despite not even being in a classroom–I feel that old familiar feeling:

Clean Slate.

New Year.

New Me.

Leave the rest behind, Snap.

It’s over.

I will be gentle, and kind. I will listen. I will be a friend to myself. I will rest. I will ask questions with humility and curiosity.

I will live my life.

And I will be happy.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer, painter, blogger, and friend to all animals.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for her Two-Bit Musings and more.

Two-Bit Musings.

Always.

In our house there will always be:

-pots and pans drying by the sink

-half-read New Yorker magazines

-a fridge full of craft beer

-cat hair ingrained in every fabric

-an abundance of Burt’s Bees products

-more books than we could ever read

-high-quality audio equipment

-a heap of laundry in our bedroom

-coffee mugs collected from adventures past

-clutter on the dining room table

-singing and playing of guitar

-acceptance

. . .

What’s on your list, Dear Reader?

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer who loves every variety of rice.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon, yo.

Two-Bit Musings.

Day 1.

‘Cuz it’s the first day of the rest of our lives, right?

. . .

Hi. (waves)

Today is my first official day of being a full-time, stay-at-home mom.

And despite the whole working remotely thing happening for months on end, it feels pretty good to be 100% done. Close the book. Wave goodbye.

It’s over.

And so begins the next chapter in The SnapDragon Tale!

First and foremost, I recognize how fortunate I am to be able to lose my salaried-with-full-benefits job, and not feel the sense of panic so many have experienced lately. I live a very comfortable life, for which I am extremely grateful. That’s not lost on me.

I’m definitely a stop-and-smell-the-roses kinda gal, and this situation is no different.

There is always something to be thankful for, Dear Reader.

. . .

So as I take a breath–during nap time, that is–I’m going to get a few kinks worked out.

  1. Clean Up, Yo. If I want this blog to take off, I’ve gotta get my shit in order. Yes it’s a fun outlet for me, but I know I can turn it into something more. I’ve got ideas. I’ve got material. I need to establish a schedule I can actually stick to.
  2. Office Space. As ridiculous as it sounds, I have trouble getting started on things. Like, a lot of trouble. I’m talking like, my laptop being closed instead of open kind of trouble. I look for any and all barriers to prevent me from my creative work. (Why I do this, I do not know.) And so, I’ve realized that I need my own space. My own desk, equipped with my (open!) laptop, easel and canvas at the ready, and a stack of delicious notebooks and pens for creative thought. It’s happening. And soon.
  3. Keep Calm and Be Kind. It’s the only thing I can control. I will never get everything done in a day. I will never arrive at some task-free life. I will never have total understanding from each and every person. But I can be kind. Always.

See you soon, friends. Be well.

. . .

SnapDragon is a human being who finds satisfaction in clipping coupons.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for a little of this and that, yo.

Two-Bit Musings.

Splishing & Splashing.

RV Adventure: Stops 2 & 3!

. . .

Kickapoo State Recreation Are. Oakwood, Illinois

Brookfield South City Park. Brookfield, Missouri

. . .

Hi!

I hope you are well, Dear Reader.

As I write this, we’re crossing into Kansas, my husband’s home state! We’ll be staying here for a few days, and Baby Snap will get to enjoy some family time with Grandma, Auntie, and Cousin!

Anyway, Stops 2 & 3 were quick, yet nice.

. . .

Well. . . Stop #2 in Kickapoo was nice, but unbearably hot. We managed to visit the playground for a bit, but then it was back into the AC. (And that sucker was working overtime, let me tell you!) So sadly, we didn’t get to enjoy much of the grounds.

. . .

Stop #3 in Missouri was much cooler! In fact, it was my favorite spot thus far. The park had a small row of maybe ten spots for RVs, on a first-come-first-served basis. We had hookups for electricity and water, and it only cost $20 a day (and we paid via The Honor System, which made me feel happy in my young heart.)

Also, about a three minute walk from our RV was a community pool!

(claps in excitement)

Chlorine Heaven, 2021.
Missouri.
Original Photo by SnapDragon X.
All rights reserved, yo.

Baby Snap was on Cloud 9, yo! And so was I.

I love pools. I love water.

I love the smell of sunscreen, and the occasional smart of a lifeguard whistle. I love buying ice cream and soft pretzels with cheese from the concession stand, all for a couple of wrinkled dollar bills.

Classic. Summer.

And seeing Baby Snap splash about—and sort of swim for the first time—was truly a precious moment for our family.

Oh, and he devoured an entire ice cream sandwich! Respect.

. . .

Stay tuned for more, Dear Reader!

Wishing you all of the happy summer vibes.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer and artist who loves the simple things in life.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for her take on pretty much everything.