Why What Happened with Rush Limbaugh Matters!

Hey everyone,

So…I promised myself never to blog mad. Again. This, of course, was after I discovered firsthand the way that my anger can obscure good judgement.

That expression…seeing red? Not entirely inaccurate.

That’s why I’ve been so careful only to blog a few days after I’m mad. Although usually by that time, I have something positive I would rather share instead. I tend to let my anger fall by the wayside.

Life is too short, right!

Mainly, I started this Don’t Blog Mad policy because I don’t want to post something online which offends people and which might someday embarrass me.

But this time, I’m breaking my rule.

When I first found out about Rush Limbaugh’s vitriolic comments towards Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, I was furious. For those of you who haven’t been following the story, here’s what happened:

It all began with the Republicans in the House calling an all male panel to speak about upcoming contraception legislation. When the Democrats realized the Republicans had no intention of calling any women to discuss what is most definitely a women’s health issue they asked to have Sandra Fluke speak as their witness. They wanted Ms. Fluke to testify about getting insurance through her Catholic university where contraception was not covered. More specifically, about the health problems that women at Georgetown faced because of this policy.

What health problems? One of her friends lost an ovary because she had to navigate around Georgetown’s objections to her medical prescription.

Now right here: I was angry. Furious, actually. Politicians and academic institutions interfering with women’s rights to consult a freaking doctor and get the medical help they need! I was livid.

It gets worse.

Republican Darrell Issa said that Sandra Fluke was “not qualified to testify” on the issue…leaving it, instead, to the real experts.

Men.

This Funny or Die video really lets the experts share!

House Democrats (under Nancy Pelosi) later convened a forum to hear Sandra Flukes testimony. You know, so she could actually explain why this is such an important issue for millions of American women.

What happened next?

This is the part most people have heard. Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” and a “prostitute.”

Those two words have been getting the most airtime, probably because that’s the only part of his three day marathon of misogynistic personal attacks for which he has apologized.

It’s laughable, really, that he claims: I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.

Well, Media Matters counted at least 46 personal attacks in those three days. It’s impossible to spew that much hate-filled rhetoric without intending someone to take offense.

Let’s look at the highlight reel of what he said:

1. “Can you imagine if you’re her parents how proud of Sandra Fluke you would be? Your daughter goes up to a congressional hearing conducted by the Botox-filled Nancy Pelosi and testifies she’s having so much sex she can’t afford her own birth control pills and she agrees that Obama should provide them, or the Pope.”

2. “What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke [sic], who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid for sex? What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute.”

3. “She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We’re the pimps.”

4. “The left has been thrown into an outright conniption fit. … The reaction that they are having to what I said yesterday about Susan Fluke — or Sandra Fluke, whatever her name is — the Georgetown student who went before a congressional committee and said she’s having so much sex, she’s going broke buying contraceptives and wants us to buy them. I said, ‘Well, what you call someone who wants us to pay for her to have sex? What would you call that woman? You’d call ’em as I — slut or prostitute or what– that has sent them into orbit.”

5.  “I’ll happily buy her all the aspirin she wants. … We would happily buy Sandra Fluke all the aspirin she wants. What could that possibly cost? … I’m offering a compromise today. I will buy all of the women at Georgetown University as much aspirin to put between their knees as they want.”

6. “Ms. Fluke, have you ever heard of not having sex? Have you ever heard of not having sex so often? What next that you can’t afford are you gonna go to Pelosi and say we need to buy? Mink? A Volt? A Prius?”

7. “So, Ms. Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. And I’ll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”

8. “So, if we’re gonna sit here, and if we’re gonna have a part in this, then we want something in return, Ms. Fluke: And that would be the videos of all this sex posted online so we can see what we are getting for our money.”

9. “I want to know, who bought — Ms. Fluke, who bought your condoms in junior high? Who bought your condoms in the sixth grade, or your contraception? Who bought your contraceptive pills in high school? Wouldn’t you be just as likely to go broke in high school and junior high as you would be in college?”

10. Limbaugh went on to say that an MSNBC anchor had said that “Limbaugh yesterday squarely aimed his words at Sandra Fluke questioning her virtue.” Limbaugh then said: “I’m not questioning her virtue. I know what her virtue is. She’s having so much sex that she’s going broke! There’s no question about her virtue.”

11. Later on the show, Limbaugh played a clip of congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee condemning Limbaugh’s attacks on Fluke and calling Fluke “a courageous young woman.” Limbaugh then said, “Stop the tape. Courageous. Recue that to the top. Courageous, having so much sex she’s going broke at Georgetown Law. (laughing) Gosh, I love this.”

12. “Here’s a woman exercising no self-control. The fact that she wants to have repeated, never-ending, as-often-as-she-wants-it sex — given. No question about that.”

13. “Did you notice in that sound bite was Sheila Jackson Lee or Maria Cantwell or one of them, talked about the strength that Sandra Fluke had to go before Congress — which is amazing. She’s having so much sex, it’s amazing she can still walk, but she made it up there.”

14. “Here this babe goes before Congress and wants thousands of dollars to pay for her sex. Well, that’s what it is. If she wants her contraception to be provided, that means she wants to have sex without consequences, with no worries, no responsibility.”

15. “[T]he Democrats are putting on parade a woman who is happily presenting herself as an immoral, baseless, no-purpose-to-her-life woman. She wants all the sex in the world, whenever she wants it, all the time. No consequences. No responsibility for her behavior.”

16. “Georgetown’s a pretty expensive school. I don’t buy your argument that’s it unaffordable. Have you ever heard of the term ‘budget’? Have you ever heard of aspirin? Have you ever heard of saying ‘no’? You can’t afford it, you don’t buy it. You can’t afford it, you don’t do it.”

17. “Were these kinds of women around when I was in school?” Limbaugh then said: “Oh, oh, no, no, no. I didn’t know any Flukes. No. Well, wait. I take it back. Yes. Every school had a couple of ’em. You know, for every 500 students, every school had a couple of these. Now they’re everywhere. That’s what you’re getting at, right? And the two at your school, I mean even with birth control, you wouldn’t go there. That’s the big difference. I mean there were women that you might think you could get a disease, but you didn’t care.”

18.  Reacting to the news that Obama had told Fluke her parents should be proud of her, Limbaugh said, “OK, I’m going to button my lip on that one.” He went on to say: “OK. Let me ask you a question. … Your daughter appears before a congressional committee and says she’s having so much sex, she can’t pay for it and wants a new welfare program to pay for it. Would you be proud? I don’t know — I — I’d be embarrassed.”

I feel sick.

I’ve been watching this play out in the media and I keep waiting for my anger to ebb so that I can blog about it.

But it’s not going to happen.

Sandra Fluke never discussed her sex life with the American public. She testified that women are being prevented from receiving appropriate medical care.

So why am I am blogging about it now? I’m terrified that America is missing Sandra Fluke’s message.

I’m scared that with the preoccupation of his name-calling and his apologies (again, only related to the two words “slut” and “prostitute.”) we are ignoring that the majority of Rush Limbaugh’s unbelievably hateful attacks were based on an incredibly faulty premise:

That contraception equals sex.

It doesn’t.

Really. It can be taken for any number of reasons, including to prevent cysts from growing on ovaries. It can also be used to regulate menstrual cycles to alleviate cramping and to ensure that the female body is functioning well.

Rush Limbaugh was vilifying Sandra Fluke but he was also insinuating that a lifestyle which includes birth control is one built upon reckless, empty sex without responsibility.

Here’s my story:

A few years ago, I had a health scare. I’ve always had an irregular period but since reaching college I would sometimes go four months between cycles. And it made me really nervous. My mom told me to relax and said that there was probably nothing wrong with me. But I mentioned it to some of my friends and the more I thought about it…the more certain I became that I needed answers. I needed facts for my own peace of mind. So when I came home over break, I scheduled an appointment with my doctor.

It started out the way that all my doctor’s visits begin: sitting on a long examination bed while I answer questions that should be obvious but which, for whatever reason, become illusive as soon as somebody asks them. My doctor pulled out various shiny instruments to check my blood pressure etc. and I felt myself getting increasingly jumpy. I started fearing for the worst. Rare disease with unpronounceable Latin names were surely the culprit!

I kept that particular thought to myself.

But it was all pretty straight forward: I explained about my period situation. My doctor took notes on her clipboard. And then she told me that my irregularity might make it hard for me to conceive in the future.

I was horrified.

Here I was, a college student, just informed that getting pregnant might be a challenge…and I wanted to cry. I wanted to bawl my freaking eyes out. Sure, I wasn’t planning on giving birth any time soon. I mean, I still don’t even have my college degree and I’m planning on making a career out of young adult fiction. I’m not exactly in a position to be bringing a new life into the world–financially or emotionally speaking.

But I’ve always wanted a kid.

So hearing that it might not be possible for me? Not easy to handle. My doctor recommended I have some tests performed at the hospital and I instantly agreed. I needed more information. I needed to know whether I was going to spend the next fifteen years of my life obsessing over adoption.

After a handful or awkward hours, the tests were complete. And after a tense week of waiting, the results were in: nothing wrong with my ovaries. My mom’s prediction was confirmed. I was fine. Irregular, of course, but healthy.

That’s when my doctor discussed birth control with me. It wasn’t because I was planning on becoming an over-sexed twenty-something. It wasn’t because I wanted to have wild, condom-free sex in the mountains of Ashland. Although, frankly, I don’t see anything wrong with either of those things if it involves consenting adults who are comfortable with their level of intimacy.

I’m not going to share the outcome of my doctors visit with everyone. It doesn’t matter. That should be between me and my doctor. The reason I’m sharing this story is because when I was terrified about a childless future, I discovered that birth control could make it easier. Simple hormone regulation with the birth control pill could make pregnancy possible for me.

That was empowering. Kids or no kids, I had control over my body, over my future. Now politicians are trying to interfere and take that power away.

Rush Limbaugh intentionally vilified Sandra Fluke as sexual depraved, immoral, irresponsible and reckless. He wanted to make this incredibly brave woman ashamed for demanding access to birth control.

I’m not ashamed.

I’m also not a slut. Nor am I a prostitute. My parents shouldn’t be ashamed of me for speaking up for something I believe in.

Oh, and Rush? You know that little dig at Georgetown? The one where you said “Well, I guess now we know why Bill Clinton went (there)”?

I’m a student at Lewis & Clark College. And, yeah, our most famous alumni is Monica Lewinsky.

That doesn’t make me a slut either.

Now a lot of Republicans have been getting very defensive. They’ve been hollering “It’s not fair! Rush isn’t the only person to ever make an offensive comment! Democrats have made them too! Why aren’t they being punished?”

First of all, I have never heard of a Democrat making 46 personal attacks on an individual in three days. Rush Limbaugh has truly sunk to a record-breaking low.

But what I hope we can all agree on is that this kind of misogynistic language needs to be stopped. No matter the source, it is unacceptable. And in the future, I promise, if I hear about a Democrat making this kind of a vitriolic mischaracterization, I will blog mad again! In the meantime, digging up old stories about Democrats feels like a distraction or an excuse for Rush.

And I’m not willing to hear excuses for Rush.

What I find most troubling is that the majority of the Republican candidates for presidency have  limited their reactions to Rush Limbaugh’s hate speech by simply addressing his language as problematic. They wish he hadn’t called Sandra Fluke a “slut” or a “prostitute.”

Beyond that? I haven’t heard them denounce his sentiments.

I wish all of them would admit that this is a women’s health issue. That Sandra Fluke is trying to make women aware of the rights our government is currently trying to strip away from us. I want the Republicans to be outraged at the nerve of a political body believing it has the right to play doctor without a medical degree.

This news story isn’t about Sandra Fluke overreacting to a little name-calling. It’s a very real warning about the kind of gross mischaracterizations and verbal abuse that women face today when they stand up for their rights.

I want to leave you with this final message from Meg Cabot, one of my favorite young adult authors:

Rush Limbaugh, I lost an ovary to cysts. I’m on the Pill to keep from losing the other one. And that ovary does NOT accept your apology.

Neither do I.

Sincerely,

Marni

P.S. For those of you looking to get involved in speaking out against Rush Limbaugh, I highly recommend you boycott the advertisers who support his show. The first amendment gives everyone the right to free speech. It doesn’t mean corporations have to pay someone to promote their products. And it doesn’t mean that you as a consumer can’t demand that the companies you support condemn this kind of hate-filled rhetoric.

P.P.S. For those of you who are interested in where I got my source material, I primarily used Media Matters. I also highly recommend people watch Rachel Maddow’s analysis of these events. Although you might want to skip the first three minutes.

Rachel Maddow

P.P.P.S. I would love to hear your stories. Please leave a respectful comment below!

Meeting the Monster

Hey everyone!

Well, today something really weird happened: I went back to high school. Now this is not the first time I’ve visited my alma mater, but it always feels strange walking the halls without obsessing over a future homework assignment. I feel a bit like a lurker half the time as I linger around classrooms, waiting for beloved teachers to have a free moment.

But today I ran into a not-so beloved teacher.

In fact, I can confidently say that this specific person made my life a living hell. For those of you familiar with my autobiography, you’ll recognize her as “Ms. T” . . . for those of you who haven’t read it, I believe I described her as a cross between Cruella De Vil and the devil.

I still stand behind that statement.

This woman told me that nobody liked me. That I had no friends. That I was immature. That even my other teachers didn’t enjoy having me in class.

This woman glared at me every single day. To the point that another student turned it into a game. He would say, “Hey Marni!” just to see how long it would take her to rebuke me.

This woman booted me out of a team photograph because I was the only person who hadn’t won an award. She made me stand awkwardly (fighting back tears) while everybody else smiled for the camera.

This woman even left me behind in a Fred Meyers in Forest Grove, Oregon. At night. And she didn’t realize I was missing until I called her from the store. She also didn’t bother getting on the bus to pick me up. She left the task of retrieving one thoroughly petrified high school freshman to the team co-captains.

So, yeah, you could say I’m not her biggest fan.

Something I made pretty clear when I wrote my autobiography. But even though Ashland is a small town, I hadn’t crossed paths with “Ms. T” since Marni was released.

It's me! Sorta . . . I mean, it's a model with my name across her face!

Until today.

I was waiting outside my AP U.S. teacher’s room when she appeared from her lair . . . I mean, classroom. Maybe I looked suspicious, since I was just listening to my music and walking in circles to pass the time.

Regardless, she asked if I needed something and I explained that I was waiting for Mr. H and I think that’s when recognition kicked in.

She asked if she could have a minute to speak with me. The last time we had a private chat it began with the aforementioned string of insults and ended with me sobbing hysterically into the phone as I begged my mom to pick me up from school (I was too emotionally devastated to walk up my hill. That may sound overdramatic, but it’s the truth).

So I wasn’t exactly bubbling over with enthusiasm at the thought of another heart-to-heart, even eight years later.

But I couldn’t help wondering what she was going to say. I knew that she had heard about my autobiography and I braced myself for a lecture. For the showdown of the century.

But instead she said that she heard about the book and that other people told her it was all lies . . . so she hadn’t bothered to read it. And then she said: I truly hope, from the bottom of my heart, that someday you realize none of it happened.

Which is laughable really. I mean, for starters: somebody told her that what I wrote about a private conversation between the two of us was a lie?

Um, how would anybody know that?

Then there’s that one other pesky little detail, what was it again? Oh right.

I told the truth. The whole truth. And nothing but the truth.

Then there was that other funny part. You know, where she says none of it actually happened. Really? Because I’m pretty sure it did. I know I’ve got a good imagination but I tend to have a very accurate memory. Just like I remember talking with other kids “Ms. T” has singled out to destroy over the years.

They all had similar experiences to mine, actually.

So . . . no. I don’t think there is anything wrong with my memory.

But that didn’t stop her from yammering on about how she wished me nothing but the best and how she really hoped, for my sake, that someday I would realize how wrong I was.

Here’s the cool part: I didn’t care.

All that power she had over me in high school was gone. It was as if she had snared me with an Imperious curse and it wasn’t until now that I could see beyond it. She went from being, quite literally, She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (or less formally, You-Know-Who) to being just a woman.

Even Voldemort can lose the scare factor!

Do I still think she’s probably a horrible person who continues to emotionally abuse some of her students?

Yes.

Do I wish the school administration had taken action when I told them exactly what I had experienced?

Hell yes.

I know what you’re thinking:

Am I right? Worst teacher ever! (Spoiler alert!) I know some people like him, but I just don't see how his desire to get it on with Harry's mom is in any way redeeming. Sorry.

But the funny part is that if it hadn’t been for her, I never would have become an author. The whole reason I started writing in high school was because I needed a way to process all the toxic things she had said/done to me. I needed an outlet, a way to transform real life into something more bearable.

And here I am.

She no longer has power over me. She doesn’t grade my work and she certainly can’t get away with telling me that nobody likes me. I mean, theoretically, she could . . . but I would laugh in her face. I’m not that petrified young girl now. I don’t have to answer to her. Frankly, the only person I still have to answer to is my own conscience, which does a pretty god job of steering me in the right direction.

So hopefully my inner demons will be as easy to vanquish as this particular outer demon.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with bullying, high school bloodsuckers, or power struggles. Actually, I’d love to hear whatever you want to share! So I hope you’ll leave a comment below. I think hearing other people’s struggles can really help people (especially those whom are currently struggling with a nasty hellbeast) feel less alone.

Sincerely,

Marni

2012 Resolutions, Awkward, and Ellen DeGeneres!

Hey everyone!

So, I didn’t technically do anything to ring in 2012. No crazy parties. No funny hats. Heck, I didn’t even stay up until midnight. I crashed at 5pm because my jetlag coming back from Africa absolutely flattened me.

But 2012 may very well go down as the best year in Marni History.

For a few reasons, actually. 2012 is the year I will graduate from college. It’s the year that I will make all sorts of big exciting decisions (like where I want to live and what I want to do professionally). It’s also going to be the year I finally learn how to drive!

Unless I can convince someone to drive me around in one of these...

Unless I can convince someone to drive me around in one of these, of course!

But I’m sure when I look back at 2012, the first thing to come to mind will always be that on January 1st, my debut YA novel AWKWARD was released!!!!

HOORAY!!!!!

See, that’s the best way to kick off a year.

It doesn’t feel real. I know that my book is in stores…sitting on shelves in Barnes & Noble just waiting to be purchased…and yet, every time I read a review it comes as a shock that someone else has read it. That Mackenzie, Logan, Jane, Corey, Chelsea and the rest of the gang no longer belong exclusively to me. And I’m thrilled because I’ve wanted to share them for quite awhile now.

So to celebrate the release of Awkward, I created a book trailer!

Feel free to comment and share it with others! The more the merrier!

Creating this video was one of my 2012 resolutions and I’m incredibly pleased that I can cross one thing off the list. Here’s the rest of my goals:

Resolution 1: Get on the Ellen DeGeneres show.

That’s right. I haven’t given up. Sure, I hoped that Ellen would see my YouTube video and call me up right away.
But it’s okay. I understand. She’s an incredibly busy woman. That doesn’t mean I’m going to give up the dream. If I had allowed rejection to faze me, I wouldn’t have a four book deal now. In fact, I wouldn’t have even bothered writing Awkward. What’s the point if I was destined for rejection?
Well, now it’s out in stores.
So Ellen DeGeneres: I will be on your show in 2012.
I hope.
Call me.
Resolution 2: Finish college.
I think that one is pretty self-explanatory. I’m definitely looking forward to having that ridiculously expensive piece of paper clutched in my fist. You know, the one that says I’ve got a degree in English. Which should really help me become an author! Wait a second…
Resolution 3: Learn to drive.
But I already mentioned that. Moving on!
Resolution 4: Be more health conscious.
This also seems pretty self-explanatory. Eating better…working out…all that stuff I keep meaning to do, but don’t.
Resolution 5: Write three novels.
A lofty goal, I know. But I have a new idea for a series that I’m super excited about writing. I can’t reveal anything yet, but I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted on my progress.

Resolution 6: Be happy.

I feel quite confident that this resolution isn’t going to be hard for me to maintain. Even without the release of Awkward, I’d be happy because my life includes so many wonderful people who inspire me every single day.

So I wish you all a very happy 2012!

Love,

Marni

Marni on Safari!

Hey everyone,

I am in Africa! That’s right: I took all of my finals at Lewis & Clark College early so that I could go on vacation with my family. So now I’m in Kenya and even though I’m exhausted, I will do my best to fill everyone in on my most recent ridiculous adventures.

I guess I should begin with my very up close and personal experience with some giraffes on my very first day in Nairobi.

There was some serious kissing!

Let me explain: giraffes love food pellets so much that as long as you put one in your mouth (and keep your lips firmly closed) it’s like letting a dog lick your face. Except, you know…it’s a giraffe!

Apparently they have very sanitary mouths, which is excellent because I was slobbered all over. I enjoying it immensely and would highly recommend the experience. Definitely keep your mouth shut though.

Then the next day I went to a baby elephant orphanage and it was every bit as adorable as it sounds. I got to pet baby elephants–one of which was only four weeks old.

And then my whole family piled into two jeeps and bounced around on rocky roads for five hours until we reached Masai Mara (where I am currently writing this post). It’s gorgeous here. Over 1000km of protected land where I have seen the warthogs and the antelope play. One of the biggest highlights for me was seeing a cheetah on the drive to the hotel. It was about seven feet away from me and without the aid of binoculars I could see every windblown tuft of hair on him. Or her…not too good at distinguishing genders yet. Another highlight was being surrounded by a herd of elephants and today I saw an endangered black rhino as well as a pride of lions!

The cuteness factor here is ridiculous. Even the baby warthogs have me cooing over them. I will prove it by uploading photos…eventually. In the meantime, if you want to follow my adventures I’ll be tweeting the highlights (MarniBates is my handle) at #MarniOnSafari.

I’m running out of Internet time but I’ll be sure to post more soon!

Sincerely,

Marni

Birthday-ish Blog!

Hey everyone!

I am officially 22!!!!!

I had an absolutely fantastic birthday! Actually, I got the whole Birthday Celebration kicked off early with a visit from my mom. I showed her around Portland, which translates to the two of us wandering around looking at art and drinking copious amounts of Starbucks. My definition of a perfect day.

 

My lovely mom. Without her support, I wouldn’t have my writing career. Or, you know…life.

Then on my actual birthday I went out for dinner with some friends, which inevitably led us to Powells. And then when my friend Laura asked me to introduce her to the world of romance novels…well, things got a little crazy.

See, when I’m excited my Italian genes kick in and I can’t stop making sweeping hand gestures. Which is how I nearly smacked my friend Emily in the face.

To be fair: I was telling them about Tessa Dare’s latest, A Night to Surrender, which was unbelievably good. So when I was explaining about the sheep bombing, I might have gotten a bit overenthusiastic.

Fun side-story: I tweeted about how much I loved this book and then Tessa Dare tweeted me back. And I freaked out. I reacted like a twelve year old Justin Bieber fan at a concert. Lots of squealing. And then I stared at my Twitter screen and repeated, “I am not worthy.”

Erm, so I need to work on that. Otherwise when I eventually meet these authors at the RWA conference, it’s just going to be embarrassing.

Anyhow, I had a fantastic night out with my friends and I spent my birthday in a little cocoon of happiness.

So it was hard to go Isaac’s memorial service the next day…but I’m glad that I did. The service was absolutely beautiful. There were chess pieces surrounding the chapel and  near the end of the service everyone replaced them with a lit candle. So now I have a pawn dangling off my backpack and the memory of being surrounded by the glow of all those candles.

Best of all, I got a real sense of closure from the service. So it’s pretty much back to life as usual for me. Thank goodness!

Now I can focus on important things…like erm, Twitter?

Sigh. Sadly I think the correct response to that is actually “my Henry James thesis paper.”

Then again, I’m discussing (at length) the phallic imagery in Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady so I don’t think it’s going to be as boring as I once feared. Plus now I can discuss male genitalia in public while pretending to be classy. Of course, I think I lost classy points when I grabbed a friend from class in the cafeteria and began crowing, “It’s a penis! I get it now! IT ALL MAKES SENSE! How did I miss that keys are codes for penises throughout the whole freaking novel?”

I’ll be sure to post my thesis here once it’s finished so I can try to redeem myself with all of you classy people.

Wow, Henry James was way cuter than I expected!

Although, after going to see David Sedaris I’m not so worried about my class-o-meter. I feel like as long as I don’t discuss people pooping in their hands, I’m doing okay. I have to say, I really dislike it when people say the crudest things they can think of for a cheap laugh. I’m generally not laughing if that’s all you’ve got.

I prefer really sophisticated humor, like tripping and food-related accidents.

And on that note, I need to get some breakfast!

More Later!

~Marni

 

Life and Death Situation

Hey everyone!

(This is one of my darker blog posts but hang in there. I think it’s worth it.)

Two weeks ago I found out my friend Isaac was dead.

And I didn’t see it coming. Nobody expected it because it was a random accident that could happen to anyone at anytime. I still don’t know much beyond the fact that he was skateboarding in Portland and then…then he was in a hospital and he didn’t wake up.

Now you see him…now you don’t.

And when I was told via Facebook and clicked on his page and saw all those rest in peace messages, I didn’t believe it. I just stared at the screen and thought, wow, what a completely un-funny joke. 

Then I figured out it wasn’t a joke at all.

I didn’t know Isaac very long but he was an incredible human being. He tutored me every week for my Perspectives in Mathematics class last year. Well, that’s not entirely true. He had certain hours at the Math Skill Center and I memorized them because I knew Isaac would make even the most daunting of my assignments fun. Since I got an A- in the course, I can say with some confidence that Isaac worked miracles.

I think we became friends that first day when we played checkers on a torus. I oh-so-charmingly tried to psych him out and kept insisting that I was messing with his head.

Then I informed the professor that I was “kicking the T.A.’s ass!”

I miss Isaac.

I didn’t see him on a regular basis but I found it comforting to know that he was around. He was one of the good guys that redeemed his gender on the rare occasions when I felt bitter and cynical. So when I discovered my lovable safety net had been cut down, I didn’t know how to handle it.

Denial soon became a good friend of mine…until I moved into grief. Crying helped but it wasn’t enough. I needed a way to avoid the pain. That’s when I immersed myself in romance novels. Dozens of them.

Note to self: romance novels can’t actually raise the dead.

I’m doing better now, partly because I went to see one of the therapists on campus. I’m trying to be grateful that beyond the death of my grandpa this is the first loss I’ve ever experienced firsthand. What has helped me the most is my firm belief that Isaac now has the answers to all his questions about the universe. I keep repeating that to myself. And I think I’m handling the loss.

But it’s hard to get excited about my birthday when I know that his funeral will be the very next day.

I guess in a seriously messed up way, it’s a nice reminder that life and death are intimately connected. You know, if by “nice” I meant “terrifying, horrible, rip-your-heart-out nightmare” instead.

Still, I think it is important to live each day to the fullest.

So I’m trying to write again: something I’ve been struggling to do since he died. And I’m doing my very best to appreciate this extraordinary, precious, fragile existence of mine to the fullest extent.

I have a feeling Isaac would approve.

More later!

Marni

Catch Up!

Hey everyone,

Well…I’m back in school! In fact, I’ve been a bit distracted lately (mainly by school) which is why I’ve been a lazy blogger. But no longer, friends! Still, why don’t I recap?

So, I had an AMAZING time in Texas. One of the highlights was definitely riding around on the back of my cousin’s vespa. A guy in a Beamer even offered to race us (an offer I immediately accepted) so that was exciting. I also crashed a party at Rice University where the theme was: Don’t Mess with Texas.

They were foolishly giving out squirt guns and badges.

So naturally, my cousin and I were instantly armed combatants. Don’t worry, y’all: I kicked her ass.

Sort of.

Anyhow, one of the other highlights was spending time with my good friend Stephanie. I hadn’t seen her in roughly four years, so you could say this visit was long overdue. She decided I needed an authentic Texas experience.

Which led to this:

And then to this….

Go Rams! Or…longhorns? GO TEXAS FOOTBALL TEAM WHOSE NAME I CAN’T REMEMBER!!!

This is my best impression of sports spirit.

Anyhow, Texas was fantastic but it was a relief to escape the humidity. Portland is gorgeous right now and I definitely appreciated being able to walk outside without feeling like I just entered a sauna.

It really does feel good to be back. I’ll be sure to post pictures of my dorm room soon….once I clean it again.

And just when I thought life couldn’t get better at Lewis & Clark (because I’ve been able to see so many of my amazing, gorgeous, brilliant and talented friends) a special something arrived in the mail….

AWKWARD!!!!!

I have my Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs)!!!! They are so insanely beautiful that I couldn’t resist carrying a copy everywhere I went. Part of me felt like if it wasn’t in my hands at all time it would disappear.

BUT I STILL HAVE THEM!

Can you tell that I’m excited?

This leads me to a very exciting announcement: if you live in Portland, have a blog and are willing to pass on AWKWARD after you read it…you can have an ARC!

I know, there should be no strings attached. But I REALLY need help spreading the excitement of AWKWARD into the the blogosphere. And the Twitterverse. And Facebooklandia. So I’ll be sure to announce when AWKWARD hits NetGalley so that everyone can review it.

In the meantime: Portland people! Hit me up!

I have to admit: it’s pretty tough to beat out an ARC for exciting news but I am definitely looking forward to being the proud parent of three fish! Right now they are recovering from a fish disease called ick (I’m not making this up. At first I was tempted to tell the Fish Lady that I suffer from ick too. Primarily when people serve me food that I really don’t want to eat) but soon they’ll live with me!

I’ve set the aquarium up in anticipation.

And that’s about it for now. I should probably start my homework now…you know, since it’s due in 9 hours….

More later!

~Marni