Tag Archive: Joshilyn Jackson


Oh, LOOK! A BOOK!

I read. Most people who know me know this fundamental fact. My favorite kinds of books are pretty frivolous. I like high fantasy. I like romances. I like paranormal just about anything so long as it’s well written. I like novels of the just plain ‘ole variety. I really prefer books that are tomes of monstrousness with epic prose and lots of detail. I like books written with amazing collections of words. I like to read books that I consume and wish I could have written that.

I have a few most favoritest authors. Topping my top 5 is Joshilyn Jackson. She doesn’t write romances or fantasy. Her books are not long, but they are thick with amazing imagery and layered with meaning and general awesomeness. Well, a good friend of hers wrote a book and I’m all over this thing.

See, Joshilyn Jackson isn’t only good with words. She is good at reading them for her audio books and she had performed the reading of her friend, Lydia Netzer’s, Shine Shine Shine. I’ve said it before, but I’ll reiterate. Joshilyn Jackson could read the phone book and it would be the most amazing thing you’d ever put in your ears. That is no lie.

So. Shine Shine Shine. It’s about love and family, what it means to be human, and about murder and robots. You should read it. In an interview Ms. Netzer was asked who she imagines reading this book. Her response was:

“[…]I imagine a mom reading this book in a stolen hour while she’s waiting for the kids at karate class. Maybe she’s sitting in her car with the book in her lap, feeling like crap because she forgot to pack a healthy snack for dance camp and had to buy a Lunchable instead, or because the dog barfed on the baseball pants and possible she’s the only one that can see the outline of the barf stain but she knows it’s there.

At some point in reading SHINE SHINE SHINE I hope she closes the book for a minute and says to herself, You know what, forget this elusive “Perfect Mom” measuring stick, and forget this comparing myself to everyone else. I’m a kick-ass mom, I own this job, and my kids are awesome.

I imagine a man reading this book on some high-tech device, who could get some satisfaction and encouragement from the fact that other people see human relationships as engineering problems, and don’t cry when people die, and count simple declarative sentences as poetry, and memorize what to say to their children.
I’d like that man to know that a scripted response counts as heartfelt, and that you can be a great dad and husband and still never really know what to say, or how to say it. I don’t know if this book will ever find that guy, but maybe it’ll find someone who knows him.” (you can find the interview here.)

Pretty powerful, I say. If you’d like to know more about the author go to Lydia’s blog. She wrote an insanely good post about marriage that I think everyone should check out. Now. Don’t you wanna read her book?

SQUEEEEEEE!

Long lost relatives? I think so.

I am a complete nerd! I met my favorite author tonight (a Wednesday night in February, actually), Joshilyn Jackson (who I’m probably related to through the Jacksons (aka Andrew or Stonewall, right?)), and I completely fangirled all over her book signing table. I was unable to speak even (without the fear of maybe revisiting dinner all over her markers) and then when I introduced myself (which I’ve always hated because most people say, “Theresa?” or “Vanessa?” to my utter dismay) she said, “Tenessa… Tenessa… Are YOU the Tenessa from Faster Than Kudzu? (her blog which I follow religiously)” And I about fainted but squealed, “YES!” She says that she loves my posts and that she feels completely lame because she checks her blog eighteen times a day for comments and I commiserated because I, too, check her blog eighteen times a day to check the comments (partly cause I’m hoping she’ll comment on the comments, but mostly because I really enjoy the comments to her blog). She signed my copy “For Tenessa, my best beloved. xxo-J” I think I shall die happy now.

I thoroughly enjoyed her talk about her book and her little readings she did of Big and Mosey from her new book “A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty”. I could listen to her words all night. This woman could make the phone book amazing. True story.

I want to be this comfortable in my own skin.

I must confess. I have NEVER liked my body. Not even in high school when I was anything but fat. I have hated the skin I’m in for as long as I can remember caring about it. I never had an eating disorder, although if one could wish oneself into anorexia, I would have as a teenager. I would say things to myself like, “If you really were worth anything, you’d be able to stop eating altogether.”

I never cut myself to gain some measure of control or to block out the pain. I was far from miserable. I tended toward the morose in my late teens, but who doesn’t? Estrogen poisoning is pretty powerful stuff. But the truth of the matter is, high school did not suck for me. I had good friends, both in school and out of it. I had a boyfriend who was good to me. I was confident in myself on the inside and I’ve never really cared what people think about me. I knew who I was and I knew where I was going. So you’d think I wouldn’t have body-image issues, but I always have.

I never liked the way clothes looked on my body. I didn’t like looking at my body in any way. I wanted desperately to be a hippy but the early nineties were heavy into the flannel layers and torn jeans with long-johns underneath. I rode that wave all the way to the end, and it suited my mental state about my body perfectly.

Pregnancy gave me the excuse to gain more weight than is strictly healthy. But it never ‘bounced back’. My body post baby was almost more than I could bear. I know that part of my issue was clinical. It was depression, but that is an awful spirally illness that seems to have no beginning but everything conspires to pull you down further. All of which causes you to check out and not care. Which, then causes you to do things to your body that you wouldn’t do normally which puts you further into depression. See? Spirally.

I got help for that and I’m not unhappy. I have a great husband. We have a great relationship. I have great kids and I get to be home with them every day. I have great friends (I wish they didn’t live so far away and that we spoke more often, alas). I have a great relationship with my parents and brothers. Life isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty stellar.

One thing. I hate my body. I hate it. It makes my life bloody miserable. It is weak and fat and prone to depression and pain. I have no issues with my brain, it’s where the creativity resides. It’s what picks up all that useless trivia and stores it for that Jeopardy win I’ll never have because I have zero desire to be on TV. But my body has betrayed me in so many ways. And because of that, I’d mostly stopped taking care of it.

I can hear the people out there who maybe don’t struggle with this saying, “Well, just take care of it. Change your habits. Start walking.” Yeah, words are easy. Easy FREAKING Peasy.

What I want? I want to love my body as I never have. I want to accept what it is and love it for itself. I want to love not just the inside but the outside. And I don’t care what people think. This isn’t for “people,” those ephemeral everyone else’s that have opinions and judgements. No. Not for them, it’s never been about them. I want this for me. I want to love all of me. I want to love me enough to make the changes.

Today one of my top five favorite authors wrote a blog that had me in tears. Her name is Joshilyn Jackson. Her blog is Faster Than Kudzu and I think she is brill.

Are they beautiful because they see themselves that way?

What she wrote today though? It’s like she put my neurosis in black and white, ones and zeros, and said it all in a way I hadn’t thought to. She articulated my wishes for myself, probably the wishes of many women who aren’t thin; who are, in fact, fat.For me? And I hope for them? It isn’t about the everyones. It isn’t about society. It isn’t about Hollywood. It’s about our own view of our own selves and our own love of our own vessels.

My body is me. Why can’t I love it?

I want to be that girl. The one who loves her whole self.