Thursday, March 24, 2016

Bring Me Back To The Start: Rereads, resurge, reliving the memories.

Today, dear readers (if I have any left after how awful I've been with updating this blog), I am thinking about beginnings.

And, oddly enough, how they never quite lead to the ending that you suppose they will - which is just fine, for me, because the Kaye I am now is not the Kaye I thought I would be and she is definitely a far sight better than the Kaye I thought would be for many, many reasons, even if one of those reasons is sadly not a less dumpling face than the one I still have.

You can't win them all.

I was about to label this "Expectation" but...I didn't actually want to grow up and look like Tuxedo Mask.

Don't worry. This is not going super philosophical. I save my driest musings for my mother's ear right when she's engrossed in something particularly important, which I know she appreciates a lot. What I'm particularly thinking about today is circa sixteen or seventeen year old Kaye - and her favorite YA.

Summer used to be the time where my reading simply flourished. Even the slightest flush of warmth in the air brings back deeply evocative flashes of prickly grass under bare toes, sprawling out over the trampoline with a paperback in hand and an already melting popsicle dripping between my fingers.

(This was...obviously pre-university, because now the thought of all that luxurious free time and reading material selected by me, for me, is making my eyes water. Give me a minute.)

One of the titles that came to mind right away for me was Avalon High by Meg Cabot. Gosh, I loved that book. I remember listening to it on audiobook while washing the dishes, and getting all caught up in the idea of reincarnation and King Arthur coming back as a rather sweet high school jock and yeah, that could work actually - and then realizing suds were getting all over the floor.

Not one of my best moments.

I also read a lot of Shannon Hale. A lot. (But Shannon is boss, so I don't think you can blame me.) I really adored The Goose Girl, and still do. 

That was also the year of Maureen Johnson's 13 Little Blue Envelopes and a brief, brash fantasy of wandering all over London on a treasure hunt of my own. It's odd looking back and realizing that I was really rather taken with contemporaries back in the day, in spite of being a spec girl to the heart and hilt in regards to my writing. I think How to Say Goodbye in Robot was my favorite of that entire stage, and that's pretty weird to think about.

Oh, wait, scratch that. Howl's Moving Castle has always reigned no matter what else came into my life. What was I thinking.

In any case, I've been wondering if these titles that occasionally wander over my tongue when I've bitten into something deeply profound and nostalgic - today, it was a Jelly Belly green apple bean, so you can see what a poetic soul I have - really hold up, and if I'll actually ruin all those sun-lit, spark sharp feelings I did have in those immediate moments of reading them.

I guess this will be the summer to see.

In some ways, though I'm grateful for all that I've gone through and the ways it's made me who I am, I would like to go back to the start in terms of myself as a reader. I would like to take who I am now - the awareness of problematic representation, the hunger for different voices and experiences - and supplant that into the girl who devoured and didn't overthink, didn't compare, didn't worry that she couldn't live up to this legacy or these blurbs or this gorgeous cover design.

Sometimes, even when moving forward, it's good to remember what is worth keeping from your old selves. Not all of it can or should be cicada-shed off my shoulders, and I think just writing this post for myself reminded me of that.

Start again. Read again.

...Not necessarily sixteen again, though. Once was enough.


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