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reading YA, graphic novels and the spaces in between

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suicide

when androids dream of getting laid

Some might say this has spoilers, but is predictable writing spoilery?

Echo Boy by Matt Haig (Random House, 2014) is a somewhat predictable romance with sci-fi action and adventure thrown in. I knew from the first that Echo Boy of the title would be breaking hearts. I listened to the audio book on my commute and it was a good way to pass the time.

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the day the music died

“Never be sorry, never be frightened, never be careful – those were the rules of Lacey. Play by the rules, win the game: Never be alone.”

I agree with Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman (HarperCollins, 2016), the Cure is the universal cure for all that ails us. Just reliving my teenage years over here. You know you’re old when you experienced the time of historical fiction! Ok so my highschool years weren’t quite as action packed, but The Screaming Trees, Urge Overkill, Sonic Youth and Kurt were the soundtrack to my soul. And River Phoenix had my besotted heart somewhere between Sneakers and My Own Private Idaho.
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pausing at the edge

The Pause by John Larkin

I knew what I was getting into when I read The Pause by John Larkin. Ok, I only borrowed it from the library because it was long-listed for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year for Older Readers 2016. After reading the blurb, I momentarily considered sending it right back, instead I stepped into the void, knowing full well the consequences of my folly.

If, like me, reading about suicide is triggering, you might want to turn back now and never pick up The Pause. Or you could forge ahead and see if you come out the other side. I did!

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when broken men survive

Recently I read a few books one after another about broken men who survive.

My reading choices weren’t intentional, more like unfortunate because the lead up to their resilience winning out affected me more than I wanted. I need to write these feelings out of my head.

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This is Sam

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson I wish your shadow would get up and walk beside me

That’s not quite what Lennie in The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson wrote in her grief for her sister. It’s what I want in my grief for my friend the Grasshopper who died four weeks ago. I don’t understand how the sun continues to rise and set after Sam’s death, like nothing has happened. But when I think of his shadow walking beside me, I remember Sam’s smile and smile with him. Sam Cropley went by many names, but I’ll stick to Sam to lessen confusion.

The Saturday after his 29th birthday Sam and I talked a lot on the phone, him being in Melb and me in Perth. I was the last person he talked to and people have asked me what he said. I’ve found it hard to tell them because by our last convo he hardly said anything. And our previous convos during the day were our usual random inanity that only we cared about – the posters he was putting up, walls, cool things left on the side of the road, trees, ponds, stupid jokes about sticks. I can talk the clouds down from the sky and sometimes my job description was to do that in his ear to stop him going crazy. That day our roles were reversed.

painting stained glass in his last job
painting stained glass in his last job

I now realise it wasn’t the words Sam said that mattered, it was what his phone calls to me on that day said about the person Sam was. He would have done the same for any one he knew, if you’d needed what I needed that day. What he did for me is what made him Sam: a beautiful, generous person who always considered others before himself. As Jack put it

He always looked out for me and he would always make sure that I was happy and comfortable well before himself. A true big brother

My sk8 dog Sheeba died that Saturday 11 December. She had a malignant tumour on her leg and I had her put down. She was only sick for a week and on the day she died Sam phoning me so many times helped me more than anything. He knew how important Sheeba was to me. She was my silver princess, my Holly White, always spinning circles for me. Sam wanted to distract me and catch his contagious happiness, which I did. In between my tears for Sheebie, Sam made me smile more than I thought I could on such a day.

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