In Searching for a Tagline . . .

This is going to be a short post to make up for missing September 16.

I’ve never chosen a tagline for this blog because nothing really appealed to me. So I just put “A Blog in Search of a Tagline” up there.

That being said, I may be on the track of something usable. I read a study once that said that people who spend their money on experiences are happier than people who spend their money on things.

And, well, I definitely spend my money on experiences — travel and books. And now I’m blogging about travel and books. So I think that this weekend I’m going to dig through Google for that study and see if there’s any quotes I can make punchy enough for a tagline.

In other news, a new series based on the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson is coming out on Amazon Prime in November, so I’m thinking that maybe that’ll be a theme for NaNoWrMo this year. Maybe not the only theme, but definitely a theme. Some posts will be basic plot summaries, some will be in-depth looks at the characters, some will be squeeing about spoilers.

I need to come up with some idea of how to mark spoiler posts. When I first started blogging, I was told that it was polite to use cuts so that people visiting my blog wouldn’t be overwhelmed by text and scared off. So I did. And what traffic I did have plummeted. I went back in and removed the cuts and it went back up. So I don’t use cuts anymore. Maybe someday I’ll get steady traffic and will be able to keep it with cuts, but for now, no. I don’t think it’s very professional to use ROT-13 in a blog, but that may be my best solution just so no one can see that (choosing random surprise ending from a movie here . . . .) Rand’s been dead all along.

So I guess that today we’re having a Germane Amazon Link: The Eye of the World, by Robert Jordan. I’ll probably not have Germane Amazon Links all month, though, just in posts where I talk about events of one single book. For posts about character arcs and so on, I may do Gratuitous Amazon Links.

Book Series: The Selection, by Kiera Cass

I’m not sure why I’m starting my travel-book-travel pattern with this series. It’s just been on my mind lately. I’m watching through all 411 (at this point!) videos from Overly Sarcastic Productions right now, and probably for all of the foreseeable future, and I recently watched Red’s Trope Talks video (a crossover with a channel called Hello Future Me, which I may check out someday if I ever finish OSP) on Dystopias, which I compared to this series as I went.

Then, I finally found the second and third books in the series, which is why I hadn’t included it in my rereading project. No point in trying to reread something that you can’t find.

There was something else, but I can’t remember what it was. It’ll come to me.

It may have been someone saying that JK Rowling didn’t decide she wanted to put Ron and Hermione together until Goblet of Fire, and I said that it was obvious to me since the moment when Ron hoped Hermione would be put in a different house from him, since “I hate you, therefore I’ll love you” is a big thing. This made me think about America and Maxon’s relationship and now I have thoughts about the whole series.

What follows will have spoilers. If you don’t want to know that Maxon is Darth Vader’s son or that America’s been dead since chapter one*, go read the books first and come back. I’ll be here.

When I reviewed The Selection (non-Gratuitous Amazon link!) for the first time, I said that the dystopia is based on a not-very-likely sequence of events. Basically, China calls in the United States’s debts and the US can’t pay them, so China ends up owning the United States. A man named Gregory Illéa (is that a real last name? All that comes up when I search for it is this series) leads a rebellion against China and wins the freedom of what used to be the US, along with Mexico and at least part of Central America.

This is a problem because China was at the time The Selection was written the largest part of the US’s *foreign* debt. Currently, the largest foreign holder of debt is Japan. Either way, though, they hold less than 20% of our total foreign debt, but most of our debt is in Social Security and pension plans, and the amount of foreign debt we hold looks to me to be about equal to how much we owe banks.

What I’m saying is that if China called in its debt, there are a lot of other governments, banks, etc., who would be there to lend us the money to pay China back. Uncomfortable, maybe, but hardly enough to sink us.

Anyway, they rename the country Illéa after Gregory and Gregory, as King, decides to stratify the country into eight castes, starting with the royal family as One and the homeless as Eight.

Our heroine, America, is a Five, which is the caste of artists and musicians. Art and musical superstars, however, are Twos and music producers are Threes and the engineers who operate the recording equipment are . . . Sixes, I think. Cass indulges in some “Makers” and “Takers” stuff here. After all, without the Madonnas and Eminems**, the recording engineers and backup singers and session musicians and such would be out of work.

Like she literally says that. Well, not Madonna and Eminem, but that the Twos are supporting everyone beneath them with their star power. And that’s not how it works. The Twos are supported by everyone beneath them at least as much. If there were no session musicians, backup singers, recording technicians, etc., the Twos would have no way to reach their audience and their careers would end.

Argh.

I also wasn’t sure for a very long time where everything in Illéa is. I actually wrote to Cass asking for a map. We finally do get the map in one of the sequels.

Now. On to the plot.

Our heroine, America Singer, is, as I said before, a Five. She has been having a clandestine romance with a Six, Aspen Leger and, as a woman between 16 and 20, she is invited to apply for The Selection, the process by which the heir to the throne of Illéa chooses a wife. One woman is chosen from each of the 35 provinces to compete.

Aspen wants her to apply and eventually they break up. America’s mother bribes America to enter and she is eventually chosen to represent her district. She travels to the capital of Illéa, Angeles, and there she makes both friends and enemies among the other women of the Selection.

There are all sorts of rules for the Selection, including that they are basically Maxon’s property during The Selection. They cannot refuse Prince Maxon anything he asks for, and they are not allowed any other relationships.

This becomes a major stumbling block when Aspen returns, having been chosen to become a palace guard. Aspen wants to rekindle their relationship and she still loves him, so they sneak around fooling around for a while, but thanks to plot armor, no one ever catches them.

Of course, we can’t follow 35 women for a long time, so the number whittles down pretty quickly. Maxon sends a bunch home the first night, others choose to go home. There is a subplot about two rebel groups, one from the north and one from the south. One rebel group attacks the palace, leading Maxon to prune down the final group to just the six he likes best, rather than the traditional ten.

All throughout this, America has been honest with Maxon that she loves someone else, which at first allows Maxon to relax more around her, since she doesn’t really want to marry him. And since he’s relaxed, she’s more relaxed and they really do start to fall in love.

Maxon is pretty devoted just to America (who is still being pursued by Aspen) and thinks that if she doesn’t marry Maxon, she’ll just marry Aspen and still end up being a Two, since the wife’s caste matches the husband’s caste and palace guards are Twos. That was really offputting for me. I’ll reread the books and elaborate later.

America also has trouble reading a room and makes some faux pas’es (fauxes pas? WTF?) and she actively makes an enemy of the King, Clarkson.

Overall, though, I really enjoyed the series. The characterizations were good, the dialogue was great, America also has a few minutes that made me want to pull my hairs out (like the abovementioned “Aspen will be an acceptable consolation prize” scene), but really those served to make America a more interesting character.

In a way, I stuck this series out not to see whom Maxon would choose (I mean, it’s America’s series — who else would he choose?), but to see whom I wanted him to choose. The first runner up, Kriss, would also have been a great match for Maxon. I did end up shipping Maxon with America, but Maxon/Kriss was very, very close.

*No she hasn’t. It’s just the plot twist that came to mind first.

**According to Wikipedia, they are the highest-earning musicians who are (a) still alive and (b) American citizens.

Book Series I’ve Loved: The Chronicles of Narnia

I try not to spoil too much here, but I do spoil The Last Battle pretty well, so I’ll try to mark the spoiler area somehow in the post.

The first two chapters of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe* were in my fifth grade reading textbook. I was reading ahead in the book because “bring an outside book to keep you entertained during downtime” wasn’t really a thing when I found them.

They were way back in the back of the book, and I had little hope that we would ever get there.** So pretty much every time I had a chance to sneak a peek at that section of the book, I would do so.

I didn’t realize that some of what we read was excerpts from longer works, so when a story just kind of stopped, it was pretty normal to me. We did make it to those chapters, though, and my teacher told us that this was part of the book, which was part of the series. The next time my mom and I went to the library, I picked up the entire book, which led to me getting the next book, and the next, until I finished the series.

I checked them out over and over, until finally my mom bought the books for me in paperback. I still have them. I cannot get to them right now, though, because Alex’s bar stools are in the way.

If you’re one of the three people in the English-speaking world who has never heard of the Chronicles of Narnia (though there are probably more in non-English-speaking countries), here’s a basic rundown of the plot.

Should I do this in book order or in plot order? Can I somehow hybridize the two?

The flagship book in the series is the above-mentioned The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. This is the story of the Pevensie kids, particularly the youngest child, Lucy, who are sent away into the countryside to the home of a family friend, Professor Kirke, during the London Blitz during World War II.

During a game of hide-and-seek, Lucy hides in a wardrobe. The wardrobe is roomier than she’d expect. It’s full of fur coats which, as she walks farther into the wardrobe, eventually become (may C.S. Lewis forgive me the inaccuracy and the pun) fir trees. She emerges into a clearing in a snowy winter forest with an old-fashioned lamp post in the center. There she meets a faun named Tumnus, and he takes her home for tea.

When she returns hours later, only a few minutes has passed for her siblings and they don’t believe her. Eventually they do, and they end up going on a quest to save Edmund, the younger of the two boys.

The book ends with the crucifixion and resurrection of the lion Aslan, which kind of shocked me when I first read it. I thought that Lewis was mocking the death and resurrection of Jesus. It didn’t stop me from loving the series, but still.

Now, let’s do this chronologically. My series of books is in the order in which the books were written, but nowadays they sell them in chronological order.

The series tracks the entire existence of the land of Narnia. I guess that entire plane of existence, really, since there are other countries than Narnia.

We begin with The Magician’s Nephew, in which a preteen named Digory Kirke*** is living with his uncle, who has made pairs of magical rings that will allow one to travel between worlds. Digory and his friend Polly end up traveling from world to world, where they watch Aslan create Narnia.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe comes next, and the following book, The Horse and His Boy, takes place during the events of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Then there are three more books, which chart the family of Caspian, a prince of Narnia, and their interactions with the Pevensies and their cousin Eustace.

The final book in the series, The Last Battle, caps the series with the destruction of Narnia. The Last Battle is pretty controversial for several reasons.

It has a rather interesting take on the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. Aslan allows non-believers into heaven based on their acts rather than their beliefs. That’s the Sheep and the Goats right there, but I know more than one Christian who is horrified by the thought.

Spoilers ahead! Awoogah! Awoogah!

Then there’s Susan. I may end up breaking this off into its own post if I end up going on too long on this.

The Pevensie kids, Professor Kirke, Polly, Eustace, and Jill are waiting on a train platform and the train somehow collides with the platform. They go to heaven, where they are joined by the Pevensie kids’ parents. Susan, who has become a pretty typical young adult, with interests in fashion and dating, is not there.

Some people take the parents’ presence as proof that we’re in the human end-time as well or something and that Susan went to hell. Further, since Polly and Professor Kirke speak disdainfully of Susan’s interest in fashion (which is likely CS Lewis’s own opinion — I never said there was no misogyny in his work, just that Susan doesn’t go to hell for it), fashion and boys must be the reason that she went to hell.

But Susan isn’t dead. The Pevensie kids’ parents were on the train. They all died at roughly the same time.

If Susan isn’t allowed into heaven, it’s not because of boys and makeup. It’s because she no longer believes. Lucy had said something to Susan about Aslan or Narnia and Susan said that she remembered that fun game they played when they were kids. So, yeah, she’s lost her faith.

Of course, even that’s no guarantee that she won’t go to heaven because of the Sheep and Goats part. Even without faith in Aslan, if you feed the hungry, house the homeless, heal the sick, etc., you still can get into heaven. It works for Emeth in The Last Battle, after all.

Though I do feel very sorry for Susan. She lost her entire family — parents, siblings, even her cousin Eustace and the beloved family friend Professor Kirke, all in one shot. I cannot imagine how devastated she must have been. I hope she had good friends to support her through that time of difficulty.

I do have some criticisms of the books. There is definitely some Islamophobia in there with the Narnians’ enemies the Calormen, who come across as Muslims were portrayed in the Crusades. I think he rethought some of this, though, because in The Last Battle, we see Tash (the Calormene god), who is more Hindu diety-esque (not an improvement) than a stand-in for Allah.

There’s also the sexism inherent in the portrayal of Susan, which I noted above. As a person on the ace spectrum who isn’t very into makeup and things (I love to wear dresses because they make it so easy to be comfortable and still kind of fashionable), I found Lucy’s refusal to go that direction to be a comfort, but I totally can see how someone on the allo, fashion and makeup end would find the portrayal of Susan to be offputting.

*there is no Oxford Comma in this title, which is odd, because Lewis attended Oxford. I’m just kidding. Probably.

** I stopped in the middle of this sentence to see if I maybe had a solution to my ongoing desire to show how I edit as I write using Word’s “track changes” feature. It didn’t work the first time I tried, so I’m going to research it and come back to it later. For now, writing.

*** Notice the last name? Yep. He’s the professor from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Dream Journal 4/24/2021

So. I’ve been cleaning and now I have a headache. Let’s see how much writing I can do before I have to go hide in a dark room. I told this all to Evelyn to cement it in my mind so that I can remember it now.

Just as a little background, Jenny Lawson, writer of books like Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, lives in San Antonio. She owns the Nowhere Bookshop bookstore in a kind of suburb of San Antonio called Alamo Heights (it’s its own town, but if you address things with “San Antonio” as the address it will reach it’s destination). Because of COVID, the bookstore has never been open to the public. They do curbside pickup and mail order and, of course, there’s the Fantastic Strangelings Book Club, which supports the bookstore.

Anyway, it’s Independent Bookseller’s Day today and to celebrate they were having a sidewalk sale, and Evelyn and I were going. I’m 95% certain this is what inspired these dreams.

First off, I was in a restaurant sitting at a table deciding what to order, when I noticed a coworker sitting at a bar. She had a cup of, like, espresso in front of her, but she said she wanted a full-sized cup of coffee.

I saw that the pot (which was one of those little moka pots they use to make stovetop espresso) still had coffee in it, so I gave her a full-sized cup of that and went in search of things to make another pot. I went to the end of the counter, where the singer J. Balvin was sitting and asked him where the measuring spoons were and he informed me that the Spanish word for measuring spoon was “culebra.” I made a little serpentine wave with my arm and asked, “¿Culebra?”*

He was kind of like, “Don’t ask me, I don’t make the rules.”

As I went back to my table, I realized that Balvin had just written a book and that I could have it autographed while he was here. I asked the guy who owned the restaurant if they would hold my table while I ran out to buy a copy.

He pointed to the line at the host’s table and said that the rush was about to start and that if I wasn’t back by then, he’d give my table away.

So I promised that if I couldn’t see a copy from the front door of the bookstore, I’d come right back.

After hurrying as fast as I could with my path being blocked by a large woman who looked like my Aunt Georgia from behind, I reached the bookstore and the entrance was now a sitting area and you can’t see any books from the door.

Later, I had another dream related to Nowhere Bookshop even more directly. I dreamed that Jenny Lawson herself was moving to my neighborhood, only it wasn’t where I’m living now, it was where I was living when I was a teenager. In real life, there is an empty lot at the end of the street but in my dream it was a marshland with a little grotto with a tiny waterfall there. I was admiring the waterfall when Jenny walked up to me.

I didn’t want to fangirl all over her, so I introduced myself, said hello and then took off.

So, as it turned out, the sidewalk sale turned into a “come-in-and-browse” sale and, instead of maybe seeing Jenny through the window, as I had expected, she was actually in the store and was talking to people. And I got to meet her. I told her about my dream, by way of offering to leave her alone, but she seemed approachable and friendly and I’m still fangirling, nearly 12 hours later.

It’s Italian!

Or, it will be in another hour.

Now, for an explanation of that title. “It’s Italian!” was the name of the Italian restaurant at the old State Street Marshall Field’s store. It always sounded like the title of a Monty Python skit. Maybe a racist one. Maybe something excruciatingly erudite about Dante or Renaissance art. Maybe both.

At any rate, I’ve finished my two months of German and am moving on to my two months of Italian. I’m also working part-time on Vietnamese, because I’ve decided once and for all that that will be my fifth non-English language. I changed “foreign” to “non-English” because, well, Hawaiian* is definitely on my list and I’d love to learn Cherokee, at the very least, since I love visiting the Smoky Mountains and there is a sizeable community of Cherokee people there.

I have my Italian book lined up. Or, well, books, since it’s the entire Kane Chronicles trilogy** by Rick Ri0rdan. I’m going to change my phone over to Italian before I go to bed (which will be any minute now), since I’m so close to June now.

Should I try the NaNoWriMo 50,000 word goal for June? I guess I’ll see when I get there. In 48 minutes.

*I know there’s an apostrophe in “Hawai’i.” Is that apostrophe also there in “Hawaiian”?

**Amazon Link!

Book Series I’ve Loved: Nancy Drew

No Gratuitous Amazon Links today, kids. I’m going to link to each of the books I mention instead.

I was thinking that the Chronicles of Narnia were my first book series, but really, my first book series was Nancy Drew.

I don’t even really remember how or when I discovered Nancy Drew, but my dad bought me one book a month for several years, and that ended when I was maybe 11, so I was probably nine when I started buying them.

My dad was very good about providing me with good female role models, and Nancy was a great one. Apparently the 1930s Nancy was even more independent than the 1960s one (which were the books available in the 1970s), but 1960s/1970s Nancy was good enough for me.

It took me a while to really think of Nancy Drew as a series in the same way as, say Harry Potter, because there wasn’t a tremendous amount of continuity there. The books were self-contained and didn’t support a larger narrative.

There was some continuity, though. Nancy’s friend in the first few books was Helen Corning Archer. Helen goes through engagement and into marriage in the books from The Secret of the Old Clock to The Mystery at Lilac Inn. Helen shows up or is mentioned in later books, but she is for all intents and purposes replaced by George Fayne and Bess Marvin starting with The Secret of Shadow Ranch.

We also get some progression in the relationship between Nancy and her boyfriend Ned Nickerson. Despite a small continuity error mentioning him in The Secret of Shadow Ranch, Ned is officially introduced in The Clue in the Diary. They start out as friends and end up as good friends who go on dates, and eventually end up “going steady,” as it were.

I really blame/credit the Nancy Drew books for making me a fan of series of books.

Dream Journal, April . . . 18? 19? 2021

I actually had a dream with a semblance of some kind of throughline last night, but I cannot for the life of me remember what it was.

So instead, I’m going to share some snippets of the previous nights’ dreams.

I can remember trying to tell someone something about Shirley MacLaine, but couldn’t remember her name. I described her as an older actress with red hair and that she used to be a dancer. Her name didn’t occur to me until I was awake, and if “Shirley MacLaine” wasn’t the first thought I had when I woke up, it was pretty darned close.

Another one was something about taking a boat from Los Angeles to New York City. In this dream, Los Angeles was roughly where Miami is in real life, but it was definitely Los Angeles. I knew where things were, like I do in Los Angeles, but don’t know about Miami.

Anyway, the boat wasn’t transportation, it was just a sightseeing thing that in real life would take 20 days, but in my dream it was going to take an afternoon.

I got lost getting to the port and I think I ended up at the airport. I also think I may have stood in line for a long time at the airport before realizing I was in the wrong place, but maybe not.

The boat was really small — just a small seating area and like a kitchen/snack bar kind of place. There were other people there besides myself but I really only saw one person clearly. He was a good-looking younger man. Maybe he looked like a young John Travolta, maybe.

Anyhow, we never went out into the open sea (thank God) and somehow the authorities ended up sinking the boat because they thought we were harboring some kind of fugitive or something.

The young man and I were the last people on the boat, and so we had time to wrap our phones in plastic slide-closure bags to protect them from the water and . . . .

Well, I assume that I ended up in the water, but I don’t know for sure.

Gratuitous Amazon Link: Today’s book, Catherine House, by Elisabeth Thomas, is a good one, and also a really creepy one. Catherine House is, well, it takes the place of college/university, but the director insists that it is neither a college nor a university. Room and board for Catherine House is free, but the students who attend the school give up three years of their lives. They cannot bring things from home, and will have no contact with the world outside of Catherine House until graduation. Our protagonist, Ines Murillo, has never really fit in anywhere, and she feels that Catherine House may be her chance to become something. It wouldn’t be a creepy book if everything went smoothly, though, and it doesn’t go smoothly. And it is awesome. And creepy. And Ines “majors” in art history and I immediately thought “why didn’t anyone tell me that art history was an option when I was picking my major?”

Dream Journal 4/16/21

I’m journaling my dreams (a) for content and (b) because I want to get back into writing fiction some day and maybe writing about my dreams will spark a short story, novella, or even maybe a novel.

Short stories. That really never occurred to me. I bet that the little plot bunnies I’ve been toying with and that never seem to pan out could be reworked into short stories. I’d maybe also get experience submitting them to fiction sites and working with editors to see if I could do that professionally at all.

I have a lot of performance anxiety regarding my writing. I think it’s to do with how what self-esteem I have is based on my ability to do things well, rather than my value as a human being. I write and write and when I hit a roadblock I tend to throw my hands up in frustration and quit.

If I restructured the part that I’m working on as a standalone though . . . . I think I might be on to something here.

I don’t know if there was a real throughline in last night’s dream, but let’s see.

It started out on a beach with a bunch of people who had dogs. I took a liking to one of their dogs and asked if I could pick her up. She was cute, but kind of strange looking, with a long body, like a dachsund or something, and also longer legs than you’d expect.

The dog’s owner just up and disappeared, leaving me with a dog I didn’t expect to have to take care of. I went home and my home was a smaller place with this tiny spiral staircase in the corner. It looked more like a set of shelves than a staircase, but there was a door at the top.

At some point, while still trying to figure out where the dog’s owner went, I squeezed myself up those stairs and discovered that the upstairs was way roomier than the downstairs and had a laundry room and things. Alex was up there and I had thought he’d said that he didn’t go up there, but he’d been hanging around up there for a while (this is probably about him moving out six months ago).

At some point, I met a rock and roll singer who was in some kind of mobility scooter thing and we went to a church with a group of people (I’m not sure where they came from). The church was having communion and the bread looked like it had sprinkles baked into it, like a confetti cake.

We didn’t go into the sanctuary but hung out in the narthex (the area just outside the sanctuary doors). Some kind of shipping container arrived and it turned out that the rest of the singer’s band was in the container. They gave a concert then, and I accidentally groped the other lead performer in the band while trying to reach the volume control to turn it up.

The crowd for the impromptu concert was really large so I guess the people inside the sanctuary joined us.

I never did find the dog’s owner, though.

Today’s Gratuitous Amazon Link is by one of my favorite YA/kidlit authors (I suspect I’ve said this before, because I really do love her books!), Ally Carter: Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valor, the first book in the, well, Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valor series. I had to redo that post, because I totally forgot to actually copy the Amazon Associates link and instead pasted my last post there. Augh! Anyway, Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valor is about April, who has been bounced around from foster home to foster home. Miraculously, she has a note from her mom promising to return and a key. Events conspire to her living in the house that the key comes from and that begins her search for the mysteries of the Winterborn family. The second book has been out for a while and I really have to read that one. As soon as I finish the other dozen books on my TBR list.

Augh! I Need to Go Somewhere!

I have a three-day weekend coming up, and Deimos has a vet appointment on Friday afternoon, but that still gives me two days to go . . . somewhere.

Maybe I’ll go state parking again. Choke Canyon State Park supposedly has 9,999 reservation slots. I highly doubt that, but I’m very curious. Maybe I’ll go out there. It’s not like they’ll run out of reservation slots.

Or maybe I’ll just do what I’ve done most weekends and hide in my house.

In Gratuitous Amazon Link news, we’ve finally hit 2020. I know this because today’s link is the first book in Jenny Lawson’s Fantastic Strangelings book club, Follow Me to Ground, by Sue Rainsford. This was a creepy one, but obviously one I’d recommend, based on the fact that I’m including it as a Gratuitous Amazon Link. Neither Ada nor her father are human. They were constructed from twigs and branches and placed in the Ground, a patch of dirt with healing properties. Ada’s father is training her to use the Ground to heal, plans that suffer a major setback (to say the least) when Ada falls in love with one of the local humans, whom she and her father refer to as “Cures,” because almost all of their contact with them is when the humans come to them to be cured of an illness or injury. Apparently this book is magical realism, but I saw it more as something post-apocalyptic. To each their own, you know?

Procrastination

I need to get back to looking for an app that will let me dictate my posts. I have had so many ideas for posts and now that I’m sitting down at my computer, zip.

I think I may be asexual. In the orientation way, not the reproduction way. Though if you’d ever seen Alex and me standing next to each other, apparently we look like I created him by budding.

I’ve never been in step with my peers regarding sexual matters. I was surrounded by budding allosexuals for years during middle school and just felt so out of place during their conversations about sex. I would complain to my mom, who I think was more than likely ace, because she never seemed to believe me. “Girls don’t talk like that,” she’d say. “That’s not natural,” was her response when I became friends with an allosexual who allosexed quite a bit.

I think that she thought that girls didn’t talk like that because she didn’t talk like that and I think that she didn’t think it was natural because it wasn’t natural for her. Her friends may have intuited that she wasn’t motivated by sex and didn’t talk about it around her as a result, as well.

Meanwhile, the situations I found myself in were *not* friend groups. There were the eighth grade girls talking about hiding naked guys in their rooms and the sex-obsessed budding allosexuals in my Girl Scout troop at about the same time. And, like I said, I’d go to my mom for moral support and get the aforementioned “girls don’t talk like that” that really gave me the impression that she didn’t believe me.

Then there’s the real sore spot on my soul — Doctor Who. I loved Doctor Who. I loved the patchy continuity, I loved the way the quarries of the UK could so convincingly play other planets, I loved the characters, and I really, really loved the “no sex on the TARDIS” rule. I could relax and watch it and be comfortable, knowing that random penises wouldn’t suddenly be popping out at me (thank you for that stressor, Stephen King).

And Doctor Who was the first thing that Thomas and I ever talked to each other about. It was very important to me during my adolescence. I always hoped to find a good Doctor Who fan club and actually, you know, have a social life. That never happened.

After the show was cancelled and resurrected as a novel series, I picked up a few of the Virgin imprint novels and there was sex on the TARDIS. Ick. No thank you.

When they decided to relaunch the series, Thomas said that he had heard that they’d pulled Virgin’s contract because the books weren’t family-friendly enough.

My eyes are stinging right now.

Deep breath, Olivia. Let’s do this.

I was thrilled. They were going to make the new series family-friendly. Yay!

We didn’t have BBC America, so we didn’t get to watch the show in real time. I don’t even know if my cable company even had it.

So several years passed of me being envious of people who could watch it. Then they started talking about how sexy it was. How clearly the characters were boning when the cameras were off.

I know that you can’t go home again or step in the same river or whatever. But I was crushed. I’ve seen a few episodes and Thomas would talk and talk and talk about them, but I just couldn’t commit. One time after Thomas and I divorced, a group I was in was just having a field day talking about all of the sex on the show and it drove me into a full meltdown.

Poor Alex had to talk me down. If I can avoid touching my investments until my death, Alex will inherit a million dollars from me and he’ll have earned every penny.

I’ve pretty much worked out most of my angst for right now, so I guess I’ll sign off with a Gratuitous Amazon Link. Today we have Tara Westover’s memoir Educated, which chronicles the development of Westover from the home-schooled daughter of survivalists in Idaho to earning her Ph.D. in history from Cambridge University. It’s a wonderful book and I was captivated by it.