Making a Murderer is still on my mind. People Magazine featured a story about it as well—so I assume it’s on many people’s minds. In fact, I’m going to a happy hour gathering next week where the express purpose is to discuss the many theories around what might have happened and whether or not Avery is innocent, all over a pint or two. This raises a murky discomfort… is it ok to have a party to discuss the show? Are we making too much light of the tragedies? Are we forgetting that this isn’t just a story—it’s several people’s reality? But this is what we do all the time, for The Bachelor and The Real Housewives and other “reality” shows.
I love reading all of the #OneWord themes for 2016. For many it’s an alternative to New Year’s Resolutions. Personally, I like choosing just one word to focus on and set the tone for the New Year. It’s not something I have to accomplish in one year. It’s like choosing an intention during yoga: it’s something I want to sit and hold and contemplate for a while.
I’ve had my word for 2016 chosen for months, and at first I tried to come up with one concrete definition. But there just isn’t one.Continue Reading
Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age by Sherry Turkle; published 2015 by Penguin Press
Do you ever feel anxiety when you don’t have your cell phone with you? Have you seen these pictures of people staring at their phones, ignoring the life happening right in front of them—ignoring each other? Have you seen crowds at a concert where more people are interested in “sharing” the experience than in, well, experiencing it?
A couple days ago I was in the car with my mom, and we were fascinated by the crazy wind swirling leaves all around us. It was nothing special—just a particularly blustery day. Without even thinking, I whipped out my phone and started recording, then shared it on my Snapchat story. Why? Who cares? Did anyone watch it? If anyone did, why should they care? There’s no reason to. So why did I feel compelled to share it?
Moments like these are explored in Sherry Turkle’s new book, Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age. She frames her discussion with the analogy of Henry David Thoreau’s three chairs: 1 for the self, 2 for others, and 3 for society as a whole. Continue Reading
Note: This post contains “spoilers” about the Netflix documentary Making a Murderer. If you don’t wish to know these details yet, you should watch the documentary and then come back and read this post.
Netflix recently released the documentary Making a Murderer, which centers on the criminal accusations made against Steven Avery of Manitowoc County, Wisconsin. Here is a basic timeline:
- In 1985, Steven Avery is accused of rape and found guilty. He serves 18 years—all the while maintaining his innocence. Throughout the 18 years, there seems to be reasonable evidence (including a confession from the actual rapist) that Steven is not guilty, but the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department didn’t follow the right protocols and never followed up on these revelations.
- Finally, in 2003, new DNA evidence proves that Steven is indeed innocent, and he is released.
- In 2004, Steven’s attorney files a lawsuit for $36 million against the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department.
- In 2005, Teresa Halbach goes missing. The last place she was seen was at Steven Avery’s residence. Steven Avery is arrested.
- In 2007, Steven Avery is found guilty of homicide. Again, Steven maintains all along that he is innocent. Again, there seems to be reasonable evidence suggesting that the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department framed Steven in an effort to avoid paying the settlement and restore their reputation.
You can view a full timeline here.
We’ll never truly know what happened. There is a lot of speculation and theories, and I highly suggest you read the interesting conversations going on on Reddit. Personally, I am inclined to believe that Avery is innocent, and I want to share why.Continue Reading
My favorite Christmas hymn (and possibly favorite hymn, ever) is Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” Please read the story behind the song, which sheds meaningful light on the context in which it was written. But the beauty of this song, as with much of classic literature, is that it continues to have meaning in new contexts.
This Christmas I hope you don’t forget that although life is hard, there is hope. Christmas is a time for remembering that things can be set right. It’s a time for re-aligning ourselves to the goal of peace on Earth and goodwill to men.
May you be blessed this Christmas, and may you bless others!
2015 wasn’t the best year for me when it came to reading (and it was even worse for writing). But one of my goals for 2016 is to get back into reading and reviewing more regularly. So on that note, I’ve created my own Reading Challenge to encourage and inspire me. I’ve chosen 13 categories—because I can totally read more than one book per month. I CAN.
So here are my categories, and some possible books within each category. Who knows—halfway through the year I could go rogue and decide to do completely different books in other categories. The point is: this gets me started and excited about reading again!
As a book lover, I have many friends and loved ones who also enjoy reading—so when Christmas season rolls around, I’m often looking for the perfect book-themed gifts. One of the best sites around is Etsy, with handmade treasures from individual artisans. For me it’s a double win: I get the PERFECT gift that my friends LOVE, and get to support the creative individuals who make them. Plus, I’ve always had impeccable customer service from the folks on Etsy.
I thought I’d share some of my favorite book- and literature-themed Etsy stores. Keep in mind there are also amazing bookish items from stores that aren’t entirely book-themed, but they’re a lot harder to find. I find the best chances of getting gifts I like at these places.Continue Reading
A year ago, I partnered with Emily from The Bookshelf of Emily J., Kay from What Me Read, and Tamara from Traveling With T. to survey our readers about what they (you!) enjoy in a book review blog. We had 100 responses, and this is a summary of the results. If you’re interested in seeing the full results, they can be viewed here.
Thank you so much to everyone who participated; it’s so neat getting to know you! And this helps me understand what I’m doing right, and what I could be doing better. Continue Reading
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction
- Is telling the truth always the right thing to do?
- Is who we love a conscious choice we make, or part of our personality?
- What does grief look like?
- Do our mistakes define us?
- Is life worth living when you can’t take care of yourself, and can’t remember the past?
Opening line: “No one trusts anything I say.”Continue Reading
By far my most viewed post on OLL is How to Find a Publishing Internship, and in the past few years I’ve received dozens of emails asking me about my journey, so I thought I’d write more about that here. If you’re looking to get into publishing, I hope it’s helpful! And if you still have questions, please feel free to email me at email@example.com.
In college, I knew that I wanted to do something with literature. Everyone told me I was going to be a teacher, but for some reason that didn’t quite feel right. I decided to try it out anyway and took some education classes over the summer. Even then (without knowing all I know now about education), I could see that teachers are not valued as they should be and that the politics of education make the daily lives of educators incredibly difficult. I didn’t want to deal with that. I need more autonomy in my life. In addition, I was student teaching a second grade summer school class and consistently felt overwhelmed by all of the demands on my attention. It could just be that second grade wasn’t a good fit, but either way the experience was not positive and I decided teaching was not for me.