Call Down the Hawk / Maggie Stiefvater [review & playlist]


[very very very mild spoilers] I was so excited for this book I ordered three different editions. Three. I was able to catch moments to read through it starting as soon as I got it in the mail. I finished it this morning. Being able to revisit the world of The Raven Cycle, even if I only get to stand on the edge and peer in, feels like a warm (also, violent) hug. There’s certainly a sense of familiarity that always comforts me when I read TRC; not just that I am familiar with the characters, but a sense that the story is familiar with me. Of course, it was different to read this story absent of more than half  its souls — the Gangsey is where I feel most myself, and with only brief mentions of them, it didn’t quite feel the same. I shouldn’t have expected it given that Maggie herself had warned us they wouldn’t be present, but still. I need the Gansey/Blue road trip story like Ronan needs his creepy bird. I still give Call Down the Hawk five stars. ★★★★★

I thought I’d share with you some tunes I like to listen to while reading any portion of The Raven Cycle series that invoke the proper eerie, magical, desperate feeling. Here’s the playlist on Spotify if you’re interested: Link

From the Journals of Sylvia Plath, 1950-1953 (46)

What is my life for and what am I going to do with it? I don’t know and I’m afraid. I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones, and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life.

Freewriting on a June Afternoon

Does a princess ever feel as lovely as this? These past few days, I have felt gentle and lovely and desirable, and because these moods do not come often, I have learned to appreciate them when they are here. I have been soaking in skincare routines and lacy bralettes and cool, dimly lit rooms and Debussy. I lay outside in the hot summer sunshine, only for a few minutes while the heat is still bearable, and smell the mint in the air, faint whispers of swimming pools and barbecue-ing and the sun as it hits the boiling pavement. If I’m feeling generous, I’ll stir a mint leaf or two into my glass of iced water. My creativity has been itching to burst forward more and more with each passing moment; I spend these June afternoons reading Sylvia Plath or writing useless stuff such as this or simply thinking.

I need to tell a story, but without any sort of idea of what story I want to tell, I am forced to resort to absorbing other peoples’ stories. Lately, with an obsession with Sylvia Plath, I try to take inspiration from the ways she translated her life to her stories. Reading through a compilation of her journal entries, I realize that her fiction is not that different from the way that she writes about her own life. In fact, in many cases, scenes within her fictional works are directly translated from experiences she had herself. In this way, I am reassured that I am free to make my fiction as similar to my own life and inner thoughts as I’d like, without feeling a pressure to make it overly fantastical or magical or opposing to my own life. Too often, I begin to create something too impatiently, without enough forethought or planning, and the project ends as quickly as it began. To be moving so slow in the process of creating something is a bit painful, but I know that it is necessary.

I have nothing so much as an idea. However, I will admit, an idea is better than nothing. ∇

Writing is a Muscle: Exercise It

Once, when I was 11 years old, I won NaNoWriMo on my first attempt. This was, of course, the Young Writer’s Program, so my word count goal was something like 9,000 words or so. And yet, it’s one of my proudest accomplishments. I mean, I can check “write a book” off my bucketlist, even if it was a tiny thing full of an 11-year-old girl’s cliches. (I’m not even sure I have that file anymore, but I can tell you it was terrible writing.)

And yet, I hardly remember that part of it. Whether or not it sucked doesn’t matter, because hey. I wrote a book. 

Why, as adults, don’t we think of writing in this same way? Continue reading “Writing is a Muscle: Exercise It”

Song Diary: The Light She Brings by Joep Beving

This song takes me back to a long car ride, the air smelling of the hot nights when spring is turning to summer and the rain evaporates on the dusty pavements and the seatbelt chokes your neck as you curl up against the cool, dark window under a throw blanket that smells faintly of sweat and someone else’s house, and a young adult sci-fi novel where the world ends that isn’t particularly poetic but nostalgic just the same.