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.

Chip Lips.

I’ve been eating barbecue chips like they’re goin’ outta style, yo. (But that’s not what this post is about. Better read on. . .)

. . .

Hi.

I’m perched here in our RV, cozied up in fruit-punch-colored sweatpants, the dim hum of the heater droning on in an inexplicably comforting way.

It’s unseasonably cold here in PA, so The SnapDragon Family is playing inside today.

Oh well.

Time for thinking.

Time for dreaming.

Time for resting these weary bones.

. . .

After reading a post by a friend of mine, I’m thinking a lot about control.

And, how very little of it we have in our lives.

Infancy. Toddlerhood. Childhood. Adolescence.

Family. Society. School. Economics.

Then, at last: Adulthood.

Adulthood. Which, generally speaking, is the bulk of our time spent on this planet.

(pause)

(Cue another cycle of circumstances beyond our control.)

. . .

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Dear Reader:

All I can control are my own actions.

All I can control are my own actions.

All I can control are my own actions.

. . .

I want to be:

-Patient. Because wouldn’t I want someone to be patient with me? I’m a flawed human being, just like the rest of ‘em. Sometimes it takes awhile to learn, to get it right. And that’s okay. It’s okay.

-Kind. Again: Golden Rule. Life’s much better when you’re kind. We’re so much prettier when we smile. Plus, people always remember how we made them feel. And I want people to feel valued. I want people to feel loved: friends and strangers both.

-Curious. There is a ridiculous amount to learn in this world, in this universe! Why would I not ask questions? Because I’m afraid of looking stupid? Stupid is as stupid does, Mrs. Blue. I’m going to spend my days learning, and growing. The journey never ends.

-Authentic. I spent far too many years hiding pieces of me. People-pleasing. Dogma-abiding. Apologizing for being human. I. Am. Human. This body is finite. It’s amazing. It’s dirty, and requires a rather unfair amount of upkeep. But it’s mine. And, I hope to use it in ways to spread joy: both to myself, and others.

. . .

And there we have it.

Another snippet from your girl SnapDragon.

(smiles and waves, and grabs another handful of kettle-cooked goodness)

‘Til next time.

. . .

SnapDragon is a homebody who enjoys putting stamps on envelopes.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for all things whimsically-authentic.

Two-Bit Musings.

500 and Counting, Yo.

Woah! Maybe Snap’s got something to say after all?

(she shrugs and smiles)

. . .

Hey hey hey!

I got notified by the WordPress fairies that I have over 500 followers!

I feel like a cool kid! Like the belle of the ball!

Like. . . the world is my friggin’ oyster, yo!

(whispers: “Wait . . . Who’s SnapDragon?”)

. . .

So stay tuned for more Two-Bit Musings.

More Desert Island Picks.

More treasures from the Book Nook.

More art.

More fun.

More half-witted reflections on this fumbling, bumbling experience we call life.

‘Cuz we in this together, love.

And I thank you.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer, reader, painter, collector of funky earrings, and old-soul drinker of coffee, in all of its glorious forms.

Follow if you dare. (Or if you’re bored. Either one.)

Two-Bit Musings.

Unpeeled.

Hi.

. . .

Hello there, Dear Reader. Whoever and wherever you are, love.

How magical it is that we’re meeting here in cyberspace. Complete strangers, living our little lives.

Perhaps we’re a continent or two apart. Or maybe we’re neighbors unbeknownst.

Yet we’re in each other’s homes, in each other’s lives.

Here. Now.

And maybe by the time your eyes skim these uploaded words, your blue light glasses trying their damndest to let you read just one more post, chapter, or page, I’ll have curled up beneath the comforter and drifted to a much-needed dreamless sleep.

And yet our words stay up. Alert. Dedicated.

Alive.

. . .

Who:

SnapDragon X. Writer of fictions, writer of poetry. Lazy painter of cartoonish women in the nude. Homemaker just barely keeping her head above the dishwater. Out-of-the-traditional-classroom educator. Atheist. CD-lover. Former makeup-wearer.

What:

Experiencing feelings of preoccupation; dysphoria; anger; bloat. Also: bliss; synesthesia; rebirth; gratitude.

Where:

(she writes down her precise mailing address in neat, all-capital letters)

When:

All of the todays.

Why:

Doesn’t want to be someone who blindly goes through life, unquestioningly eating the fodder before her. Wants to consume the arts with abandon but also create with purpose. Wants her house, her clothes, her tastes to be unapologetic reflections of her chipped-teacup kind of soul.

How:

Sixty seconds. Sixty minutes. Bit by bit by bit by bit by bit by bit by bit by bit by bit.

. . .

SnapDragon is a weirdo artist who self-identifies as a curvy-petite badass.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for musings from her outspoken, RV-traveling, book-and-TV-obsessed life.

Two-Bit Musings.

When in Doubt.

Stump Skills, 2021. Panama City Beach, Florida. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved, yo.

When in doubt:

-call

-order the Large

-ask the question everyone else is too afraid of

-bring a sweater

-smile

When in doubt:

-drink a glass of ice water

-play your favorite album as loud as can be

-wear comfortable shoes

-remind yourself of all you’ve survived

When in doubt:

-change the sheets

-send the birthday card

-trust your gut

-close your eyes for ten simple seconds

When in doubt:

-err on the side of humanity

-err on the side of compassion

-err on the side of unquestioning love

. . .

“You should never, never doubt what nobody is sure about.” –Willy Wonka

. . .

SnapDragon is a person residing on Planet Earth.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for tiny tidbits of whatever.

Two-Bit Musings.

Whatcha Been Up To?

‘Cuz we all whittle away the days somehow.

. . .

I feel like every time someone asks, What’ve you been up to? I’m at a loss for a substantial answer.

I mean, what have I been up to?

The days seem to blur together in a stream of chores and worry, interrupted momentarily by a few specks of fun.

Another minute-hour-day-week-month-year has passed us by.

And so, my Dear Reader, after careful reflection on my day-to-day life, I’ve come up with the following answer to that inevitable, friends-and-family question:

It’s usually a pretty safe bet that I’ve been. . .

-shamelessly pouring myself an iced coffee

-sending an unnecessary Bitmoji to a friend or family member

-changing a soiled diaper

-talking about how much I miss teaching high school

-snapping a pic of Baby Snap doing something cute, or, pretty much anything

-catching a piece of news and saying, “That’s absolutely disgusting.”

-drafting work emails just for the sake of appearing relevant

-eating some form of cheese

-reading a blog post, a Dr. Seuss book, or selection of fiction

-overthinking something I’ve said or sent via text message

-putting away groceries, laundry, or toys

-washing dishes as I listen to my husband read Horton Hears a Who, and proudly reciting every word

-tinkering away on a piece of writing

-sitting and feeling overwhelmingly preoccupied

-applying cream to my extremely chapped hands

-watching Red Oaks with my Sweet Husband

-putting on fuzzy slipper socks and climbing under the covers

-wondering where the time went

. . .

And that–in all of its mundane beauty–is a typical day in the Life of SnapDragon.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer, artist, and impulsive Dollar Store-spender.

Snippets of SnapDragon

Two-Bit Musings.

Just a Little Hello.

(smiles and waves)

. . .

Hello, Dear Reader.

And greetings from our Sweet-Baby Berkshire RV!

The SnapDragon Family is nearing a week on the open road, and well, it’s been a rainy one.

But that shall not dampen our spirits!

We’ve seen bits and pieces of this country—the tiniest samplings of the American southeast—and there still lies much ahead.

So let us pour an icy drink, settle the babe, and greet the stretch of highway with a smile.

Here. We. Go.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer who finds it completely irresponsible that auto “correct” suggests the improper use of apostrophes. Like, you’re a computer. Get your shit together.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for more snarky swipes at society.

Two-Bit Musings.

Twist-Off.

Snap sheds her skin, and it’s not even December yet.

(Uhh, yeah. Not sure what that means either.)

SnapDragon’s List of Things Both Big and Small That Happened in 2020 and Therefore Sparked a Need for Change in Her Life:

1. Pay it Forward. You probably know by now that my son was a NICU baby. Doctors and nurses saved his life (and, it’s probably worth noting, mine). Ten months later, we have so many little mementos from his stay: board books, trinkets, even chapsticks and tote bags that were donated by multiple organizations, to parents like us who pretty much lived in fear for two solid months. I’ve been thinking about those organizations. I’d love to be a part of something like that. I’d love to offer even the smallest ray of hope to those families. ‘Cuz I’ve been there.

2. Forgiveness is Hard. You’ve also probably noticed that on occasion I have a way of being purposefully evasive in my posts. I say things without really saying them. Basically. . . some shit happened. With people who mean the world to me. And while some days are better than others, I’m glad I’ve chosen the path to forgiveness. Life is short; let us focus on the good. I also accept that it may take years for the scars to fade. But indeed, they will. Time is funny that way.

3. Just Laugh. Like, milk-through-your-nose, laugh. Don’t wait until the dishes are done and your hair is perfectly combed. Welcome in the silliness every chance you get. The big things have a way of working themselves out, or so it tends to seem.

4. Go Outside. It’s another Everyday Must-Do. Whether it’s icy, humid, or pleasant-spring-breezy, I’m gettin’ my ass out there, yo. We humans need sunshine.

5. Today is The Special Occasion. I know, I know. Sounds super cheesy. But, like, for real. The bulk of 2020 has been spent at home. That feeling of being out in a restaurant, where you think other people are looking at you and judging your outfit? (Dude, are they?) It almost feels like a relic from a different age. Because maybe what truly matters are the moments not caught on camera, or Instagrammed, or fucking Tweeted. Life is beautifully here for us.

6. I Love Arting. And I desperately need to clean up my projects. All of them, including this blog. I pride myself on being an organized person, but I feel like I’ve let the tech features of this site (categories, buttons, links, et cetera) go to shit. I also need someone to take quality photographs of my paintings, so I can have a decent portfolio of my work. (I live in a townhouse and have serious lighting issues. I need a pro for this.) And, I have a novel in the works. And a novella. And crafts and crocheting and all the rest. Eek!

7. Friends Will Be Friends (Right ‘Til the End). COVID has taught me that like all living things, friendships need TLC. Starve it, forget it, or leave it in the dark, and you’ll see dire consequences. Reach out. Send a text. Write a little letter. Make the time.

8. Friggin’ Go For It. We bought an RV. And, believe-you-me, there’s a lot to learn with such a big rig. There have been moments of head-pounding frustration, but, like all frustrations, they passed. And now we have a beautiful home on wheels, ready to see this gigantic country of ours! And it’s awesome. No risk, no reward, friends.

9. Use it Up, Yo. We’re making a conscious effort to buy less stuff. And we love stuff: Books, clothes, fancy flavors for iced coffees. But we’re running out of room. (And Baby Snap is growing by the hour.) I also get weirdly anxious when I feel like I’m wasting things. I don’t like stacks of tee shirts sitting on a forgotten closet shelf; books and magazines from purchases past haunt me every single day. It’s time to focus on what I have, and to use it.

10. You’re You. My husband’s favorite movie is Planes, Trains, & Automobiles. And whenever I’m feeling extra dorky (you know, like daily) I say, “I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. ‘Cause I’m the real article. What you see is what you get.” Because Del’s right: All we can be is ourselves, and the very best version of ourselves. So every time I second-guess, and overthink something for no reason until I’m almost sick to my stomach, I sell myself short. And you know? I feel like people like me better when I believe in what I’m doing. When I’m passionate and honest and excited about things.

When I believe in me.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer and artist who wishes she could see a casual conch shell, like on a beach, in real life.

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