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I originally posted this in Reddit’s /r/Ravenclaw subreddit, but i wrote enough that I thought I should just turn this into a Facebook post.

Then I realised I haven’t written here in quite a long time, so it now serves as a blog post.

Do you need good books? Here are some good books.

1. The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar – Fantasy meets reality as a pair of drunken Scottish Fairies on a romp almost start World War 3 in modern day New York City while running around with a group of normal New York people. Seriously, it’s a riot and Neil Gaiman wrote an introduction for it.

2. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. When I was 14, I was given this book by my English teacher. This was my first all nighter. It changed my life, I started writing, and within the year I had been published in national magazines for poetry and I am still writing over 20 years later. I will graduate in 2-2.5 years with a triple Bachelor’s in Creative Writing and History Education and I attribute it to this book. I own it in two languages and I am reading it in Portuguese right now as that is my second language (the third being Spanish). I cannot tell anyone how much this book means to me, but how relevant this book is to even now in life.

3. A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury. Easily the best science fiction story I have ever read, the best short story I have ever read, this book overall is overlooked often and should never be overlooked. If you have heard of the Butterfly Effect, it originated here.

4. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. You are noticing a trend. Yes, I have classics on this list. Do not be scared; classics are here for a reason. They are not meant to scare you away, they are meant to draw you in. This book is an everyman book – this is real life. This still happens, in different areas, in different places, but this still happens nowadays. Don’t sit with a pen and paper, or feel like you have to because a teacher set you for a book report. Download it free on a kindle app, and read it a little bit at a time. Get into Jurgis’ story, put yourself in his shoes. Transport yourself into his time. You’ll find a newfound respect for anyone who has a job that they have to do to survive; a surprising empathy for anyone who has to keep fighting no matter what the world goes after them.

5. Any of the alternate fairy tales by Gregory Maguire. I especially adore the Wicked: A Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West and the ensuing Trilogy, and After Alice, as I am a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland.

6. The Alice series by Carroll. all of it. It is by far my favourite Fairy Tale series of all time. I don’t care if it is the Disney version, or what. You give me the option of Hogwarts, of Wonderland, of a TARDIS, of Narnia, of Tolkien, anywhere.. I will choose Wonderland. I will always choose Wonderland. (Oh, now I’m sobbing again…)

7. Watership Down series by Richard Adams. It helped me, when I was much younger, to understand the concept of death, to understand the concept of a possible afterlife, to understand that animals, that every living thing can have feelings, emotions; it does not matter what you are, or how you believe, you can feel, you can act, you are alive, even for a short time, you can influence the world.

8. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. I picked it up for $1 before a trip, and it was one of the first books where I had to read it at least half a dozen times before I could understand what was going on. Sometimes I will read it and I will understand it in a completely different way than I ever had before. It is a book written in a different frame of mind than any book I had ever read previously or since.

9. The Madness Vase by Andrea Gibson – Poetry is now and forever a part of my life, and this poet, for all the modern poets, has been the one to influence me to always want to keep writing. Or never want to keep writing. But I got to see them speak, and perform, and I realised that if I gave up now, I would not be able to do what I need to do, which is write. So I keep writing. And I keep dreaming. “You, you stay here with me.”

Why am I still relying on the auto-posting thing? I have no idea, because it doesn’t work. I’m sure it’s something that if I sat here, I could figure out… I just am too flailing with other things in my head, it’s very far down the list.

The rest of this week is dedicated to getting rid of things. A giant load was picked up by my friends on Wednesday, bound for a local shelter as I said previously. As well, I’ve been going through some of my son’s things that he no longer plays with, or needs, and we’re paring down. Going to try to go to the consignment shop again today and see if I can get any more money for a few items I no longer need, and if not, I’ll just donate those as well.

It is a great feeling to get rid of… stuff. I just have too much stuff. I’m kind of dreading the holidays. With a kid, everyone wants to get them… stuff.

As a mostly single parent, I can tell you unequivocally that if you want to make my day, get my son gift cards for Target, grocery stores, book stores… even toy stores. That way, when he IS of the age that he can look through a toy store and want something, we can get it. Or, he can get books he’d like. The other things are just to keep diapers on his clean bum.

Not really sure why gift cards get a bad rap with people. They are actually pretty darned personal, seeing as you’re helping someone with money who may be too proud to ask for it, but really need the help.

My friend Jeremy J. Sutton said this today, and.. it’s perfect.

“It’s officially Veterans’ Day, and this is where my mind goes when I think about what that means. It’s not about one person or one group one day a year. Today is no more the day to think about veterans’ issues than MLK’s birthday or Cesar Chavez day are to think about race relations, or the day of your local Pride parade is the one day you should be aware of LGBT issues. October isn’t the only month for Breast Cancer Awareness, Valentine’s Day isn’t the day to celebrate your loved one, and Thanksgiving isn’t the only day to be thankful for all that you’ve been given in life.

Here’s a challenge. Take a minute every day to step out of your own shoes. Stop and genuinely think about someone else’s struggles in our society. Think about the extraordinarily high suicide rates of veterans and LGBT youth. Look at the disproportionate incarceration rate of minorities compared to whites when faced with the same charge. Take a look for yourself at the gender pay gap, and ponder why only 5.2% of the Fortune 500 have female CEOs and only 5% have minority CEOs.

Better yet? Do something about it. Contribute to a non-profit that supports a group you don’t belong to. Challenge the views of those around you through thought provoking conversation and polite debate. Read. Watch. Educate yourself. Enlighten the world.

Don’t just say “Thank you.” Show your appreciation.”

Having to actually take out trash, and a lot of it, starting to purge things I haven’t looked at in years, or projects I never started from half baked notions.. it feels good to get rid of things.

I also gave platelets for the first time today, and apparently I’m a champ at that. But it took about 3.5 hours, and my veins feel like swiss cheese.

But I could help save someone by doing that, so temporary pain is a good thing, right?

Also, I’ve tried auto posting a couple times, and that fails, so I just have to write it every day now instead of forward. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s kind of annoying. Oh well.

I keep listing things on Freecycle and no one is wanting them, but I did get a reply from someone looking for baby clothes and items, so I quickly did one of the cleaning jobs on my list, and went through some of the clothes that the kid has outgrown and came up with another full box of things. I put all the stuff outside for them and got an email later that it’s exactly the size and type of thing they needed, and it makes me very happy to know that not only did I get rid of things that were cluttering up the place, someone else can actually *use* them, which is just wonderful.

There were a lot more than 15 items but since my post didn’t shoot off yesterday for some reason, I figured I’d do a combined one this morning.

For Day 6, my friend Lauren made a post on Facebook that her workplace was gathering items for [a local shelter](http://safeplace.org/get-involved/give/wishlist/), so I decided to raid my cupboards to do so.

Today I found 6 baby related items to give to the shelter. I’ll have a few more days with things I found that I’m donating this month, but I have a giant basket, and a diaper box, and a wipes box, full of things to give to a good cause.

And, I’m able to downsize to help others, which is awesome.

A month or so ago I had a friend on Facebook say they needed wine glasses. Well, I finally found the box I put them in today, and there are five of them.

So that will be 5 more items leaving this apartment this month, once our schedules work out.

This makes me very happy.

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