Question & Dancer: HOCD Edition

question-and-dancerI’m an artist not an expert, one who is learning to embrace questions more than answers.

These are some questions I got last month. Ask yours here.

I’ve gone through CBT and recovered somewhat from very intense HOCD. However due to the intense stress i have been through for the last few months and still do experience i find that i am behind on my university work. I have the options to defer my exams but am ashamed to do so as i would have tell friends and family that i have been struggling. I. any advise?

Defer your exams, dear. Take help and grace when it is offered. If your friends and family ask about what’s going on, you can simply tell them that you’ve been dealing with some anxiety and stress, but that you’re working through it with someone. If they pry, that is on them. It is your story, and it is your right to share it or not share it. That said, I have found so much freedom and so much support in being honest with my closest friends and my family.

If this post helps, share it with those trusted people.

I’m doing self- ERP of just scrolling through my feeds and reading/acknowleding LGBT stuff. However, after 3 days of mild anxiety and generally feeling like it wasn’t as scary anymore, I came acorss a post that spiked me and I (disappointingly) did my complusions (aka internet searching and reassuring myself). How did you deal with major setbacks in your ERP?

First of all, please try to not think of this as a major setback, friend. This is just part of the healing experience; everyone has good days and bad days, even people who don’t have OCD. Be gentle with yourself. Here are a few posts I’ve written about relapses and setbacks:

Healed Not Cured: Remission & Relapse
OCD in Remission
Life after Treatment
When to expect a relapse
Am I Bitter?
Lies I Sometimes Still Believe
Managing OCD-in-Remission

Can OCD go from mild to moderate? I feel like my OCD themes from when I was a child were not as stressful as the one I have today (I’m an “new adult” I guess, from book genre terms), and I was just wondering if that’s a thing?

I would say so, yes. For me, the longer my OCD went untreated, the more my obsessions seemed to elevate in intensity. I would guess that part of that was because I was growing and learning and becoming wiser. OCD goes after the things that we value most, so it naturally makes sense that– as a new adult– you are figuring out those values and that OCD will find new targets as you do so.

Don’t delay treatment. For me, the obsessions and anxiety got worse and worse (though, of course, there were times of reprieve … but don’t mistake that for OCD being gone; it is just taking a break and gearing up for the next big attack!) until I did exposure therapy.

Why You Need CBT/ERP

I am a long way into my CBT and have recovered to a large extent, but i wanted to know if you could describe what some of the common feelings/lingering HOCD symptoms that remain during the later stages of treatment. I have limited anxiety and compulsions but i still feel this sense of uncertainty about my sexuality, and i don’t know it that should still be there this late into treatment(6 weeks)

Honestly, it sounds like you are way ahead of where I was at 6 weeks in. For me, something finally clicked at about week 10 or 11. After that, nothing in my life has been the same. Please keep up the hard work!

Hi Jackie! I have HOCD am trying to do ERP on my own (temporarily)! I’ve been exposing myself to all types of things.I started getting bored with some of it so I thought I’d make it harder, if I exposed myself to woman in a swimsuit I would ask “am I attracted to her? am I aroused by her?” and start imagining scenarios to see if I liked it. Is this ERP or a checking compulsion? I’m confused.

Looking at the woman in a swimsuit is the exposure– but asking those questions is a compulsion. Try looking at the woman, thinking through a scenario, but NOT judging anything or assigning meaning to it. Tell yourself they are just thoughts. I wonder if it would help for you to read my ERP script and then try copying it but for your own compulsions? I used this script for my imaginal exposures.

I’ve been going through what I think is HOCD and have recovered to an extent due to ERP and CBT. But I still have doubts about whether it was ever OCD or whether it is a real sexuality crisis (I still have spikes but not much anxiety). I was wondering if this is normal in OCD recovery and if you knew any steps I could take therapeutically to help overcome what I think is a last hurdle.

Hello dear one, I’m not sure if those of us with OCD ever seem to make it over the last hurdle. It might be more helpful to think of “the next hurdle.” Don’t be discouraged by that please: I promise that my life post-ERP is incredible and nearly obsession- and compulsion-free, but I also know that I do still have OCD, and I have little setbacks at least once a year. A couple questions above this one, I posted several links about remission and relapses that might be helpful for you to read!

My HOCD has got better with ERP (self-directed, as i cant afford a psychologist) but i still have spikes and now feel like i’ll ever know my sexuality (definitely not with the clarity i did before) i’ve tried hard to accept that maybe i’m bisexual, but i cant and end up remunerating on that as well. Any advice on what i can do now? I just want the joy i had about relationships and love back:(

ERP is meant to make you more comfortable with uncertainty, not to take away the uncertainty. I know that sounds awful (ha!), but it really isn’t. Please read this post, friend:

Gaining Certainty through Embracing Uncertainty

Hi jackie, Im a TOCD and HOCD sufferer. HOCD is ruinning my life, at first it did feel like ocd but now it seems so real that I actually feel Im gay which makes me sick because Ive always been boycrazy. Im 18 years old and never been in a relationship which gives ocd a lot to work with. And I cant feel attracted to boys anymore which is the most scary thing ever for me. Att: rosie

Hi, its rosie again, the thoughts that used to make me sick dont disgust me anymore, and I cant picture myself in a future relationship with a boy, which scares me a lot bc is all that I ever wanted, i used to watch lesbian porn but never thought of being in a relationship with a girl other than friendship, i dont know what to do Im depressed and lost, all i want is my heterosexual life back.

Hi Rosie-dear, I thought I’d reply to both of your questions at once. First of all, this is all very, very normal for an HOCD sufferer. I am not saying that it doesn’t suck (it does!), but it’s all common to the experience, and I hope you can find comfort in that. Secondly, please find hope in knowing that many, many HOCD sufferers who were in the same shoes as you are now experiencing freedom and joy and confidence in their sexuality via exposure therapy. If you go to http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD, you can read a LOT more about what exposure therapy (or ERP) is, how it works, and how you can even do it on your own (with the help of a library book) instead of a therapist.

I have had questions about homosexuality and curiosity about it when I was little and this is what scares the hell out of me now. No straight person would repeatedly question things like that, would they? Lesbian porn made me orgasm faster than my preferred gay porn (I’m a straight girl that likes gay man porn and I think thats normal). That has nothing to do with anything, right?

I would imagine that most straight people do question that. And straight people with HOCD repeatedly question their sexuality. (By the way, I’ve heard from so many people with HOCD who have gone back and combed through their childhood to find evidence. This isn’t helpful.) I recommend reading a book about OCD and seeing if it sounds like you. Chances are very high that it will. If so, then consider exposure therapy, either on your own or with a specialist. At http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD, I have info about both types.

Jackie I’m so done with all this hocd stuff. I’m not strong enough to deal with this. I’m sad everyday and I have so much doubt. I feel like, as a female who has been straight her whole life, I can never see myself liking boys again. I just want to give up and accept I’m gay :(((

You say you want something and then follow it with frowny-faces, so I don’t believe you. This is what I believe, because it matches with where I was at for so many years: you want to be sure; you want either black OR white, but you do NOT want to wait in the gray. The gray, the uncertainty, is what gives you anxiety. And this is the root of OCD, dear one. But guess what, the rescue and the freedom is actually found in the gray area. That sounded so impossible to me. It might sound that way to you too. But uncertainty is how you beat OCD, and you do it via something called exposure therapy. Please read the following:

Gaining Certainty through Embracing Uncertainty
Embracing Uncertainty
Uncertainty is the Key

I remunerate endlessly about whether I am having an actual sexuality crisis or HOCD. Any idea as to what distinguishes the two? because, i simply cant tell anymore.

Anecdotally, my friends who are gay would probably not have called it a crisis. My friends with HOCD definitely would because of the intense anxiety that accompanies it. Have you read any books about OCD? Please do. I bet you will find yourself in the pages.

Jackie, I’ve had hocd for a year now and I don’t really know how much I can handle anymore. Recently I’ve been going through a phase where I wonder if I’m bi. I am a 17 year old female who had never questioned her sexuality. It’s on my mind a lot even if I’m in the stages of waking up from sleep the thoughts of being gay run in my head before I even open my eyes. I feel hopeless:(

Hi dear, please don’t feel hopeless. You are 17 and have the world ahead of you, and I promise there is hope. If this is causing this kind of anxiety, it is very likely to be HOCD. Have you had a chance to read a book about OCD yet? I recommend something like the following. Don’t let yourself get too anxious to do this. Remind yourself that you are simply collecting information at this point.

Stop Obsessing by Edna Foa

Amazon | B&N | Fishpond

Freedom from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder by Jonathan Grayson

Amazon | B&N | Fishpond

The OCD Workbook by Bruce Hyman and Cherlene Pedrick

Amazon | B&N | Fishpond

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders: A Complete Guide to Getting Well and Staying Well by Fred Penzel

Amazon | B&N | Fishpond

Jackie, I feel a lot of trouble turning to god during my hocd time. I feel distant from him and can’t attend church much because I’m a busy teen with school. I feel like deep down inside I still wonder if hocd is really a disorder and I’m doubtful of God being able to help with stuff concerning sexuality. Every time I try to pray i just hear “you can’t pray the gay away” in my head

Firstly, this is a verse I held dear to me during the worst seasons of OCD: “If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.” This is from 2 Timothy 2:13. I don’t believe that “praying the gay away” is what you are trying to do, dear. I know this feels hard to do because the theme of homosexuality is what is at the forefront of your mind right now, but remember that that is just a theme— the real issue here is OCD. It can theme hop actually, so we focus on OCD, not on the theme. OCD is the root. Pray about OCD. Pursue ERP. And then pray about that as well. 🙂

Lord, I am terrified about what I am being asked to do through this therapy, and I worry that it might be sinful.  But there is at least some part of me that believes this is connected to OCD, so please cover over all I have to do with your grace. I am doing these things in the hopes of restoring my right and healthy relationship with you. Please be honored by my therapy and my choice to fight for my freedom (which you won on the cross) and my relationship with you (again, made possible by the cross). Be glorified in my therapy, and cover anything sinful with your incredible grace. Make me strong enough to complete my exposures. Provide the strength I need to press through this scary therapy, and let these hard exposures and choices (that may sometimes seem wrong to me) glorify you. Amen.

Regarding, false attractions with HOCD. I feel these strong inclinations towards certain women (only celebrities) who i admire and find myself continuously worrying/checking if it’s more than that. I feel like I’m denying a crush. It doesn’t feel like a natural crush, like i usually have. But i do recognise that i have a genuine obsessions of sorts with them. Could this be another HOCD symptom?

I think so! It sounds so similar. Does it give you anxiety? Do you try to do something to make the anxiety go away? (Could be almost anything– telling yourself that you don’t actually like these celebrities, picturing yourself kissing them to “test” your reaction, etc.) If so, that sounds like HOCD to me.

Jackie, I have had hocd for a really long time now and I honestly feel like it never gets better. Im a girl and I feel like I will never like another guy again. It honestly feels like torture because I feel like I’m gay and I just need to accept it. I’ve been praying so much but I never seem to see God’s hand in this aspect of my life. What do you think?

I think that God is always at work, even when we don’t feel him or see what he is up to. So, it’s okay if you don’t have faith enough to believe that right now– I have faith enough to believe it for the both of us, and I am excited for what he will do in your life, dear. I undersatnd what it is like to feel like things will never get better. I promise I get that: I suffered for 20 years, 15 of those being undiagnosed. But just 12 weeks of ERP therapy broke my chains. Have you looked into this yet? Read up about it at http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD!

I am doing ERP and CBT – albeit on my own, guided by a book, but i have this need to come out as gay or bi-sexual (even though i know i am not). In some ways i feel like i’ll never be free/ rid of my obsessive thoughts till i do this. it like i want to confess to something i know i am not/haven’t done. Is this normal with HOCD and is there any way to deal with this, like a specific CBT technique?

Confession is actually a pretty common compulsion– and here, it feels like what you’re talking about would fall under this category. Remember that in ERP, you need to do your best with the RP (response prevention)– in other words, resist the compulsions. In your case, this would be the compulsion to confess or to come out. If you keep doing your exposures and keep resisting the compulsions, your brain wiring will change in the very best way. Keep it up. Don’t give up or give in.

Hi,I need help! I think i have hocd but i’m not sure. All started when a classmate put her head on my shoulder. In that moment i was so scared, my heart beat really fast and in that moment I thought if i was lesbian. I always had crush for boys, but i never had a boyfriend. At the beginnig this things last for like two days, and then i was okay. But now is like a month that i live like this.

You should read some of the HOCD stories on this website! Your story sounds very similar to Hannah’s– she thought her friend looked pretty one day … and then her mind was “off to the races” for months. I’m sure you feel alone, but you are not. First of all, please note that all but one of the questions above are in regard to HOCD. Secondly, please read these stories. I think they will really help give you some clarity and direction.

Interview with a Former HOCD Sufferer
Another Interview with a Former HOCD Sufferer
A Third Interview with a Former HOCD Sufferer
A Fourth Interview with a Former HOCD Sufferer
Q&A with Former HOCD Sufferer

HOCD Story: Meet Mae, Part One

HOCD Story: Meet Mae, Part Two

 

Thanks for all the questions, folks! If you have questions for me about anything (but especially faith, creativity, and mental illness), add yours here.

As I said, I’m an artist not an expert. I will leave you with these, some of my favorite questions in one of my favorite poems, â€śQuestions about Angels.” Click here to hear Billy Collins himself read it. (P.S. It starts with questions, ends with a dancer.)

“somewhere i have never travelled” by e.e. cummings

One of my favorites. I was so grateful to get permission to use the last line in my novel. ❤

As Silas says in Truest: "I still think I’ve never read anything better than that. The morning I first read it, I went into some kind of shock,” he said. “I hadn’t known anything could be so … delicate and flabbergasting at the same time. It’s the line that made me want to write.”

THE POETRY PLACE

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skillfully, mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me,i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not…

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A Week Away

I just spent the week up in Duluth in the cutest little condo penthouse suite (see my Instagram for a little tour!). I didn’t do everything on my to-do list, but I did do a lot. And now it’s 1:14 am, and I check out in the morning, and I think I’m stalling on going to sleep because that means my vacation is over. 🙂

This week I …

  • wrote two blog posts, updated a few things on my blog, and figured out how to use an app called IFTTT (If This, Then That) … more on this soon
  • completely rewrote the first four chapters of my novel (not just revisions– this is new material, a whole new take on it)
  • brainstormed SO MUCH
  • finished reading one book and read half of another
  • rested, prayer, and spent plenty of time in the jacuzzi
  • wrote letters
  • went through the usual highs and lows I experience in solitude (“I am killing this writing life! … I totally suck as a writer; I’m such a fraud … Maybe I will get there … Actually, this is coming together! … No, it’s not … But it might!”)

Tomorrow I’ll pack up, meet my friend Kyle for coffee, and head home. And the best part is that it’s a holiday weekend, so I don’t have to return immediately to work! So grateful for this week. I learned a lot about my book, myself, and how to push through writing barriers.

3 Things I Want to Say to My College Self

  1. Quit being so damn proud and ask for help.
  2. There is more gray than you would imagine– and it’s a good thing.
  3. Give more grace. 

college

Ask for Help

Look, I know that all your life you have prided yourself on your intelligence– how you can figure things out on your own, how your mind is such a steel trap you don’t need to use a planner, how you don’t take shortcuts in anything (except maybe gym, ha!). But things are gonna get harder and harder and harder, girl, and the sooner you learn how to suck it up, ask for help, and accept that help, the better it will go for you. In fact, you will feel even smarter— which makes sense, since it’s wise people who collect resources and use them. Quit trying to get to the Everest summit without oxygen. Utilize your mentors, the counseling office at your college, the weekend extension given on that writing assignment. One day, you will be so happy to have tools and to use them. One day, you will see that it was always smarter to humble yourself and ask for help. The sooner you learn this, the happier you will be.

Gray isn’t the Enemy

The truth is that you have an undiagnosed anxiety disorder– OCD– which is making you so incredibly uncomfortable with anything that isn’t black or white. And if something is gray, the uncertainty of it makes you wild with panic, enough that you will think yourself in circles until you are able to move that gray along the spectrum, one way other other, to black or to white, so that you can breathe again. But the truth is that the sooner you learn how to sit with the gray, to let it be, to learn how to breathe even in the midst of uncertainty– that is where you will find relief and freedom.

Grace

First of all, you’re a bit of a self-righteous jerk right now, aren’t you, Sommers? Because you don’t accept help from others, and because you force everything in your world to be either black or white, and because you have scrupulosity (sit tight, you’ll learn more about this in a few years), you sometimes act like you have cornered the market on Being a Good Girl. Please stop. It is in your weaknesses that God’s power is made perfect. It’s in your humility and vulnerability that you draw others and help them open up. The mask of perfection that you wear feels so necessary right now, but it’s when you take that off that you will start experiencing deeper friendships. It’s when you show the darkness of your heart and find that you are still beloved that you will taste that richest flavor of being known. Give grace– to yourself and to others. This is the better way.

WITTY RANTER EP05: THE BOOK EPISODE

Talented students at Bethel University put together this fun podcast, and I’m “in” this episode. I want to clarify one thing: I definitely don’t think that there is anything inherently WRONG about “novels about prom,” nor do I believe I am doing any groundbreaking work in writing novels like Truest. I am trying to follow in the talented footsteps of so many incredible writers who showed me the kind of books I wanted to read and write. Out of context, my quote might sound a little “well, no one was doing this thing until I came along,” which is just not true. Just because I couldn’t always find those books in my childhood didn’t mean they didn’t exist. And now I am so aware of the shoulders I stand on: Melina Marchetta, Laurie Halse Anderson, John Green, C.S. Lewis, Maggie Stiefvater. And anyone who knows me knows I will never argue with a great kissing scene! 🙂 Enjoy!!!

The Clarion

Logo_WittyRanter_HudallaTHE BOOKS EPISODE features Jackie Lea Sommers, a young-adult author from the Twin Cities who battled obsessive compulsive disorder until she found treatment in her early 20s. She published her debut novel, Truest, in 2015 and her second book is set to release in the fall of 2018.

Host Christine Schuster and co-host Kellie Lawless talk about their shared love for fictional young-adult novels and Kellie geeks out about Mark Twain. Schuster’s mom just wants to know if it’s true.

_R4R4328Host and producer: Christine Schuster is a senior journalism and musical theater major. She can really write and report and do other stuff. She wrote this wedding story for City Pages. From Eagan, Schuster has interned at the Guthrie Theater on both the artistic and communications side. She’s obsessed with really old vintage clothing, NASCAR and Broadway.

20170210_holmberg_mugshots_lawless_12Co-Host: Kellie Lawless is a junior journalism major. When she’s not writing her…

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Sacred

Last week was so incredibly productive. I had to take my laptop and write in my bed, since my office somehow seemed too overwhelming, too formal, too demanding. 

So I wrote in my bed. It was a simple measure I could take to feel safer. I don’t know. Am I alone in this?

It makes me think of Virginia Woolf, of A Room of One’s Own, of how I, at 18, was so idealistic about writing that I wrote not one but two research papers meant to disprove Woolf’s claims, and how, a decade later, I would wonder, Maybe she was right.

Man, writing is hard. I saw this posted on social media today. I felt it.

I’m not complaining. Or I’m trying not to, at least. I have a calling on my life, and I am rising to it. No, my writing life isn’t easy, but it is sacred.

“i thank You God for most this amazing” by e.e. cummings

Thinking about this poem tonight. It is a favorite.

THE POETRY PLACE

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

e.e. cummings
1894-1962

Commentary: I love this poem.  The last two lines sound somewhat like a paraphrase of Pauline thought … but the whole poem makes me think about how e.e. cummings let all of his senses awaken to the natural world. All of us can be…

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a crush

JACKIE LEA SOMMERS

crush

I miss this.

I miss the earliest days of flirting, the butterflies, and all the awkwardness.  I miss being excited to go certain places at certain times just because you know he will be there.  I miss the stumbling, bumbling nonsense chatter just to make him stay another five minutes.  I miss missing someone the second he walks out the door.

Gosh, I’ve been single for too long.  I need a crush.

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OCD: Am I Bitter?

JACKIE LEA SOMMERS

Let me tell you, I have drunk my fill of bitterness over OCD.

When you’re twenty years old and have a tortured soul, an imprisoned life, a mind that won’t stop, and a heart that’s broken– and when you doubt that any of it is redeemable– bitterness feels like the only weapon in your arsenal.

But when you’re thirty-two, and you’ve been shown grace and favor and freedom and healing, when you’ve experienced rest, when you know that pain had a purpose, there’s just nothing in your rescued life that wants to hold onto that knife.

And so you open your hand.

At least, I did.

bitterness

Image credit: Christian/Mr.C90

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Here. Have some reviews.

A few books I’ve read recently …

emotional craftThe Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass | Oh man. This is changing my life, guys. Hands down, it’s the best craft book I’ve ever read on fiction. A week ago, in an email to my editor, I described myself as having “a novelist’s heart but a poet’s education.” (Don’t get me wrong– I adored my education! But I focused on poetry, not on fiction, so in some ways, I am learning as I go.) This book is helping. A ton. (I also recommend The Anatomy of Story by John Truby.)

gap lifeGap Life by John Coy | I was lucky enough to share a stage with John Coy earlier this year, and the man is just so wise and well-spoken and lovely. In the green room, he selflessly doled out advice to this newby from the perspective of a man with something like sixteen published books to his name. Gap Life was an interesting read about Cray, a boy finished with high school but not yet ready for college, who is figuring out how to navigate his own pursuits versus the dreams his father has for him while working at a home for adults with development disabilities and while falling head over heels for a girl unlike any he’s ever met before.

whisperThe Whisper by Pamela Zagarenski | Man. This book. It’s a children’s book with the most incredible illustrations (Zagarenski is a two-time Caldecott winner!) and the … plot … I guess … is also so lovely. A girl borrows a book from her teacher, but the words spill out on the way home, so she has to come up with the stories. This book is a must have for every creative child, itty-bitty through age 100.

incarnadineIncarnadine by Mary Szybist | This collection of poetry as hailed as a best book of the year by NPR, Slate, Oregonian, Kansas City Star, Willamette Week, and Publishers Weekly. It was full of poems whose forms pushed the envelope, all while having the utmost care put into every line. There was a theme of annunciation running throughout the book, and I found it stunning.

literary sextsLiterary Sexts: A Collection of Short & Sexy Love Poems edited by Amanda Oaks and Caitlin Siehl | Don’t be flabbergasted by the title; this was a fun and interesting collection of short love poems written in the form of texts and meant to read like one long texting conversation between lovers. Some were, of course, far better than others. Some were outstanding. Many were average. For the outstanding ones, though, I say this was worth it.

spare georgiaSpare by Georgia Lundeen | I will post about this what I shared on Instagram: “OMGOSH, I have been waiting for this for YEARS.
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I began following Georgia’s blog, knowing nothing about this anonymous poet who had this incredible rawness and total command of language. She had one photo on her site, tinted green, a girl in sunglasses.
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Then one day I ran into her on Facebook. No joke. We had a mutual friend and I definitely recognised that photo. I tentatively messaged her to say hello and found out we were practically neighbors. WHAT!!
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These days, I consider her a friend. Georgia’s poetry is best described as TAKE NO PRISONERS. I love it, ruthless and unassuming.
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So I’m not joking when I say that I’ve been waiting for this book for years. I love poetry that doesn’t apologize for itself, and I cannot wait to dive into Spare! (!!!!!!!!!)” Guys, I loved it. Of course I did.

pipers sonI’ve also been re-reading the Narnia books (this is an ongoing thing, for any of you who are new to the blog and didn’t know) and The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta, which is just about as close to perfect as I think a novel can come. I’ve talked about Marchetta pretty extensively on the blog (here, here, and here) and never hesitate to call her my favorite writer. If nothing else on this list catches your eye, then why not read The Chronicles of Narnia, a Marchetta book, or one of my other favorites?

What have you been reading, peeps? Anything incredible??