By rosieseagraves

Put Down the Podcast: Pseudo-intellectual language that holds us back

Like most writers, I’ve had to embrace the savagery involved in editing a piece of writing from its bloated origins to something palatable. My “square one” for language—have I used as few words as possible? Is this sentence edible? Then comes the scary part: are the ideas at the forefront or buried in convoluted prose? As a language teacher, I often hear students preface presentations with self-deprecation. “Okay, before I start, this isn’t very good.” “That’s bad PR!” I shout. I want to instill in them the importance of owning their work and making themselves understood. Yes, the fear can…

Rosie Reads Volume 2

Make no mistake: I’m a bookstore person. And a library person. I’m into the whole thing. I’m all about the coffee and the furrowed brow as it glances synopses. Searching for my next read is an activity in and of itself. There’s nothing better than a stack of new covers at checkout that promise to make me smarter, wittier or just better at trivia (just kidding that last one is a lost cause). As I’ve learned the hard way, not all book recommendations are created equal, especially as it becomes harder to discern genuine reviews from promotional content. That’s why…

Four Ways to Get Through Winter

It’s that time again, friends. The holidays are over, spring is out of sight, and all we’ve got is bleak, boring winter ahead of us. Sure, the internet is rife with New Years-resolution themed inspiration. Or, if you’re feeling alternative, the anti-resolution goal-setting, mind/spiritual whatever. Try a new fitness class! Learn a new skill! Buy a cute planner and take a picture of your desk! Hygge, for Christ’s sake, HYGGE! When the blankets settle, though, I still find the January-mid March stretch mind-numbing. In the end, I think it’s all in the expectations—I don’t presume to thrive during this part…

Beauty Cycle

I write from a plane currently hovering over the Atlantic Ocean on its way to Spain. I’m along for the ride, co-leading a group of 20 students on a two-week excursion through the country. A few days ago, I ordered a Fitbit, now safely attached to my wrist. I’m no dummy. The next two weeks are going to be full of walking and this is my one chance to make the 10,000 daily step goal and win all the corresponding digital accolades. The architecture, food, art, holiday celebrations and landscapes are good, too. But the steps. I made sure to…

End of the year reflections on activism

On May 26, 2017, three men defended two Muslim women against the deranged babblings of a white supremacist while on a bus. Two of them died for it, the third hospitalized. All three are heroes. Their choice was a simple one—remain silent or speak out against nonsensical hate. This is American terrorism, let it ring. We used to do much more to track white supremacist groups, until 9/11. The modern understanding of “terrorism” now lacks not only cultural nuance but also any hope of self-interrogation. The term itself does us little good—an empty vessel for political justifications of anything. As…

Toothbrush

A fun exercise: The Skeleton (from: What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers) Write a ‘mini-story’ that features a character on a quest for something important or specific. On this quest, the character meets an obstacle. The character then triumphs or overcomes the obstacle by magic or supernatural means that comes from the outside. You can have minor characters, but never abandon the main character. The story should be told primarily in the form of action and dialogue. Limit to a page or two. Here’s mine:

Ghostbusters

Often when I’m driving here and there and a Taylor Swift song pops up on the radio (which, let’s face it, is often), I begin cataloguing all the visual gaffes that accompany her songs. The latest is the whitewashed “Africa” of her music video for “Wildest Dreams,” defended vigorously, and thereby made worse, by the video’s director on Twitter. I ponder to myself: “Couldn’t that be a job? Just to review media before it gets released and let people know when they’re committing any number of egregious, indefensible faux pas that capitalize on the worst aspects of human history/present reality—colonialism,…

A Love Story*

The alarm began to sound on his Android just as the sun peered through the tattered blind into his face in a moment of curious synergy. The blind had been partially wrested from its perch atop the window in a drunken stupor, but hadn’t seemed like a significant domestic downgrade until the arrival of this inconvenient side effect. Aware that he had five other alarms waiting in 10-minute intervals, he leapt his arm across the tattered bedspread, straining to swipe right on the frantic clock imagery now glaring in his face. Somewhat awake, he peered at the popcorn ceiling and…

Imprecise Art

On Jan 1, I engaged in some at-risk cliché behavior, scooping up three self-improvement volumes from my local Barnes & Noble: Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person (Shonda Rhimes) Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination (J.K. Rowling)  What Color Is Your Parachute? 2016 (Richard N. Bolles) I felt especially ashamed of that last one, save for its fabulous blue cover. The second isn’t even really a book, but rather a commencement speech printed in book form prolonged by half-hearted illustrations and designed…

Rosie Reads Volume 1

Being in a new place seems to invite reading. You don’t yet know your daily rhythm, or where you want to go when that rhythm slows down without notice. There’s so much to do but then there’s down time not filled by a clearly established routine. This is all a fancy way of saying: OMG I read two books! The Opposite of Loneliness, Marina Keegan Last Sunday, browsing Barnes & Noble with the full knowledge that I already had a pile of books at home waiting to be read, and that I always purchase too many books, I moved from…