Sunday Lowdown #184


As I look back on the week, like a pirate captain gazing at the horizon through a spy glass, I want to start singing, “Leeeet’s dooooo the tiiiiime waaaarp agaaaaain!” I’m not sure what the hell it is, but I’m losing track of what I did, and when.

I do know that on Tuesday I went to my first therapy session with the PhD candidate, and I felt deeply comfortable there. I don’t know if she’s just up-to-date on all the newest strategies for working with patients because she’s a student, or if it’s because she’s new and eager to do well. When I would tell her something about myself, she would respond, “Thank you for sharing that with me.” I feel thanked for, like, existing, and I didn’t know I needed to hear that.

I volunteered at the Friends of the Library, and the manager said to me, “Please don’t go back to school!!!” She watched as I easily navigated bookish conversations with patrons, from why Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes broke up their friendship to how Mexican Gothic feels a bit sci-fi at the end, and from recommending Crawl as a must-have horror movie to locating not-too-scary mysteries in the large print section. I told the manager I’ve applied for half-a-dozen jobs at the library and only received one interview (for shelving books), and I didn’t get it. I mean, this is a hard conversation, and I don’t know what to tell people. Whether I’m going on about history, writing, horror, editing, sign language, blogging, movies, teaching, etc., I have a lot of info in my brain and everyone wants it for free.

Just kidding, I truly enjoy my county library system, but this gif is too good not to use.

Last big thing, I started a new book club with the Huntsville Horror movie group. Once per month we’re going to read a horror novel, and I’ll lead the discussion. I’m pretty excited because, to light my own sparklers, I’m really fricken’ good at leading book groups. If you want to join (and know that you don’t have to commit to every month), check out the registration page for both movies and the book club.


I was thinking about getting a stick to poke the review of The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman, because it’s largely dead. Maybe folks are busy with back-to-school or finishing up end-of-summer vacations, but there’s an echo in the room for sure. Like the roadkill folks so commonly see in Michigan, I shall weave around it and continue the journey!


I’m drawn to books about prisoners and education. Actually, I’d like a memoir geared more toward work programs, like training therapy dogs or learning to be a plumber, because I think skills and knowledge aren’t only derived from reading books and then about talking about the importance of themes and “lessons” learned. But anyway, Biscuit and I read The Prison Book Club by Ann Walmsley, and I do not spare her. Review Wednesday.


Owned Books on TBR at Beginning of Year: 202
Owned Books on TBR Last Week: 182
Owned Books on TBR Today: 184 — What the hell. Oh, one was a textbook.

Thanks to Cupcakes & Machetes, because the Chicken Soup for the Soul book is all her fault, lol. Also, I interviewed Joanne C. Hillhouse several years ago, but never added any of her books to my list. I’ve corrected that!


  1. Ha ha, sometimes reviews just lay there like roadkill, you’re right. Other times they take off. Who knows why? I know that in my weekly post most people comment on the stuff I share about my personal life and not the books I read. I think that’s just because not everyone shared my taste? 🤷🏻‍♀️ I’m glad you had a good therapy session with the Phd candidate… is this a new regular thing or just a one-off?
    Also, the way Leslie Knope hates the library in Parks and Rec is hilarious. The librarian who is Ron’s ex-wife is so awful I can see why, lol.


    • I was thinking more about where everyone is, and I do believe it’s more that folks are doing final vacations and getting ready for back-to-school. Which sounds so exciting! I’m getting all sorts of emails from school already, and I don’t even start until the 29th.

      The therapy is going to be a regular thing. The first meeting was 90 minutes for her to get to know me, but we actually ran out of time, so I’m doing another 90-minute session tomorrow. After that, it should be 50 minutes. We’re doing goal planning, which is really cool. I don’t actually have a lot of goals in my life, which is the result of making goals or having dreams in the past and having zero way to get a positive outcome.

      I hadn’t realized that my gif is from Parks and Rec! I tried to watch the first season and did not enjoy it, but everyone says you just have to plow through the first season and the rest is really funny.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s funny, I think of you as such a goal-driven person because you’ve done so much schooling and are always going after interesting jobs! Good luck with the therapy. I love my therapist and value what I’ve learned so much.

        Ha ha, yes, the first season of Parks and Rec sucks. No question. The second and third are absolute comedic perfection. So if you have time and desire, I definitely recommend it.


        • Hmmmmm…… now you’ve got me thinking. I suppose I do have goals for my blog and reading life. I had a goal to grow zucchini this year. Basically, my nightmare interview question is, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” I think a big part of that is everything has been completely unstable my entire adult life if you consider school shootings, the economy, and housing markets.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh you are such fun to read Melanie. I really don’t know why the library and everyone else aren’t falling over themselves to give you a job. Good on you for telling that Library person how you’ve applied for library jobs and haven’t got them!

    But the hoot business really relates to your comment about poking a stick at last week’s review. I did mean to read it, really I did, but Melbourne, driving back from Melbourne, and then immediately into writers festival just overwhelmed me. I might get to it, but I’ll really try to get to the Prison Book Club book. I think I have that here, from my Mum’s place, but I haven’t read it.

    But, it is interesting what posts get people in and what don’t. There are some you just know will appeal, and some you know aren’t likely to, but there’s a whole swag that you really can’t quite guess, that could go either way – and usually they do.


    • I do honestly believe everyone is finishing summer vacation and getting ready for back-to-school. Several of my blogger friends have children, and one just left England for Peru and is a teacher, she’s doing vacation AND back-to-school! Mostly, I was trying to be funny because there wasn’t much to reflect on 😀 I noticed you’ve been going to Melbourne a lot lately. Remind me what’s there? In my head I confuse why you’re traveling and why Bill’s traveling because apparently all things Australian are the same in my brain (what a rude brain). I think you’re visiting a son or daughter, yes?


      • What a rude brain! There you go again, making me laugh.

        But, yes, you’ve remembered pretty correctly, except that BOTH our son (with partner and 2 children) and daughter (with new partner) live there. While my parents were alive, we visited less frequently and for shorter times, but now we are tying to visit more often and for a bit longer each time. We love seeing our kids, and we want to know our grandchildren and for them to know us, and we like to feel we help by taking our grandson off their hands occasionally. Last time we were also able to look after our little 6-mth old granddaughter for an hour and a half twice so her mum could go have a coffee/do errands in peace.

        Surely you don’t confuse li’l old me in my mid-sized white suv doing holiday trips with Bill and his behemoth driving for work! Haha.


  3. Ooh, I read that Connie Briscoe in 1998, you’ll be thrilled to know, I’m sure. I COULD dig out my review from the box of journals but it’s in the v hot top of the house. You never know what you’re going to get comments on from my experience. I don’t even try to guess any more. Yay therapist! I had my talk with my overseer of my online programme the week before last (did I tell you already?) – a lot more extensive than I’d thought it would be, and she will review the sessions I’ve done and any comments I’ve added. I’ve done one session which was an introduction to CBT and explained the difference between emotions and feelings; there was a guided relaxation breathing exercise that made me feel panicky but I’m going to keep trying!


    • I learned recently that Connie Briscoe is deaf. To my knowledge, she does not write about d/Deaf people, but that she is famous because there was a renewed interest in books by and about Black women after Terry McMillan published Waiting to Exhale.

      I did a meditation last night that had me wound up and scared! It’s a bedtime meditation during which you are supposed to picture your mattress floating down a river, and I have to say, the guy doing the meditation has clearly never gone down a river (mosquitoes, spiders, sticks poking you, cold when the sun goes down, getting stuck on the shore at every curvy bend, trash in the water, and near me they pull bodies out of the river more than I’d care to know).


      • No WAY on the river meditation, that would have freaked me right out, too! I got very cross during one by a substitute yoga teacher once, we were a little speck flying through space and we were going towards the Earth and we went past the Sun and through the cloud layer and into the sunlight and I was all “no, no, if there are clouds, then we’re not in the sunlight” and just lay there being cross! I did have a better one last night with a muscle clench and relax programme which was quite nice, at least.

        And no, didn’t know that about Briscoe, but totally get it re McMillan as I would have found her on the “Black and Asian” shelves in Lewisham Library after getting into McMillan.


        • Hahahahha, I’m so happy someone else gets mad while meditating. I mean, if the leader is going to be creative, they should at least put some thought into it. I’d rather listen to the bugs and frogs in a forest or something like that, but I would be in my car with the windows down and not IN the forest, cuz surely I would get ticks on me.


  4. I will hire you to work in my bookstore one day if that makes you feel better. 😀
    People are dumb. EMPLOYERS are especially dumb. But we’ve had that conversation unfortunately. I aspire to NOT be a dumb employer one day in the future.
    This past week feels like it both dragged and flew by for reasons that you know. I’m trying to look back on it and think if anything worthwhile happened besides the one big thing and I think the answer is no. Oh! There was that one very exciting thing that you sent me! We haven’t used it yet, but I look forward to that night. My weeks going forward are chuck full of entertainment. 😉
    Did you ever read Enchanted by Rene Denfeld?


    • Your bookstore better have not only books, but spooky stuff and dogs. That’s my two cents! LOL. It seems like you guys had a rewarding week, and there is lots of good stuff coming up! There’s nothing like some goodness in life to renew hope that not everything is going downhill.

      I haven’t read The Enchanted, but I just looked it up, and it sounds really cool. I’ll see if my library has it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. When I feel like I have to poke a stick at a post, at first I think, Did I only think I published it? And then I think, it must have sucked, and then I decide it was so amazing that everyone was just so overwhelmed by the awesome that they couldn’t manage a comment 🙂

    I hope your horror book club is a great success. I will not be joining for the same reasons I can’t watch horror movies. Books are even worse.

    I just read a book called Craft in the Real World by Matthew Salesses and it was fantastic. Since you have an MFA and I imagine done lots of workshops, I think you would find it extra interesting.


    • Hahahahhahha, Stefanie! Okay, that is a great series of thoughts about your posts, LOL. Honestly, everyone really is on vacation or getting ready for school right now, so it’s a funky time of year. It’s kind of like right between Christmas and New Year’s when it seems like the entire internet has disappeared.

      I have Craft in the Real World on my TBR, and it did catch my attention because I’ve been through so many workshops, not only as a writer, but as a teacher. There are many, many ways to do them wrong, and I sort of wonder why many professors keep doing them wrong. You’ve just bumped this one up on my list now that you’ve renewed my interest.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. We’re not on vacation over here, though it is a couple of weeks since I did any work. Obviously you are ideally talented to open a book store for deaf people, with a sideline in horror movies. If playing vinyl records is still a thing, then surely there’s a future for DVDs (or those boxes with tape in them, what are they called?).


    • Ha! Yes, it will be the most niche store ever. You’re thinking of VHS tapes. I remember when we had so many of those and thinking, “There’s no WAY anyone will get rid of all their VHS tapes and buy DVDs. Who would be so stupid?” Hahahahahaha.


  7. There’s never NOT an appropriate time to sing The Time Warp. 😉
    I’m so glad you’re having such a wonderful and positive experience with therapy. ❤ That's fantastic! She does sound very nice.
    lmao That "punk-ass book jockeys" gif IS too good not to use!! 😛
    That is so frustrating about being overlooked for a job they can visibly SEE that you'd be perfect for. Get it together, employers!
    That book club sounds SO fun!


  8. Two hilarious things here. First, that GIF, obviously so good “punk ass book jockeys” gave me a good LOL.

    Also, your phrase ‘not to light my own sparklers’? Pure genius. I’ve never heard that before, did you make it up? Can I steal it? I’d love inserting that into a convo one day…


  9. You would be a great book club leader! A friend and I recently decided to start a book club of 2 (so we only read books we actually want to read) and it made me think of you and Biscuit and your club of 2. (I have been on vacation/working/ignoring my blog because then I felt so behind I got overwhelmed and realized I needed to take a break and just enjoy my summer.)


    • I’m so glad you enjoyed your summer! Actually, reading the Sunday Lowdown is a great way to catch up and skip the reviews. ALTHOUGH, I did review a Sweet Valley High book if you are jonesing for some nostalgia.

      I’m so glad for your book club of two! They’re nice because you only negotiate with one other person’s desires for the club, choices of books, meeting times, etc. And, you’ll notice you start to grow as people together thanks to the shared experience through books.

      Liked by 1 person

      • (Whoops, pressed enter too soon!) I am excited about our 2 person book club. I have never successfully been in a book club before because most simply have a goal of reading books and reading plenty of books is never a problem I have. But this is a good friend and we have some similar interests so I hope it’s a good fit.

        Liked by 1 person

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