Archive | June, 2011

the book that did it.

17 Jun

I’ve been given a task by my fellow blogger, Nika Yuedan, to write about a book that had a major impact in my life. (Thanks, Nika! What a great idea.)

At first, I had to think it through. I’ve read an inordinate amount of books, all of which have accomplished something for me—either personally, as a writer, or both. Which one stood out? Which one knocked me over? Which one bypassed the boundaries of paper and page to enter my heart and significantly touch my life?

This one.

I don’t even remember how old I was when I read this book. 10, 11, 12. I just remember feeling kind of stunned, because the story of Margaret and her growing pains resembled the same things I was going through at the time. I remember reading the book so quickly that I couldn’t believe it was over when I completed it. I remember sitting in the couch in our basement, my eyes swallowing words that were affecting me in a way a book never had before. It wasn’t a Greek myth or a children’s book. It was Margaret wondering about faith, boys, growing up girl, her family.

It was me, rendered in book form.

Years later, there was some kind of event in USA Today, where you could send Judy Blume a question. I quickly sent my message to her: no question, just sincere appreciation for the book that changed my little life. She replied. She replied! I have no idea where that email is now, I don’t recall what she said—but I remember jumping around the house, nearly in tears, because the author who penned that amazing, thought-provoking book sent me a message. It was out of this world.

Out this world, a bit like the book that pretty much changed everything.

Dissecting Europaitis.

7 Jun

This post might be better served on Kitten Heel Marvel’s more travel-y sister, The Lonely Passport. Nevertheless, I’ll take a more travel-y approach on the other post. This is more about how I’m currently feeling.

I want to move to Europe. Now.

Europaitis (noun) – the rapidly growing desire to find my way to Europe and begin a new life there. Synptoms include incessant daydreaming, looking an old photos of my trip to France and Switzerland, and mentally furnishing my apartment in any European city.

First off, I am constantly in move-somewhere-else flux. It’s wanting a change in my life, wanting new surroundings, wanting to meet new people, wanting, wanting, wanting. I wanted to move to California, something I discussed about on here. I wanted to move to Phoenix many moons ago, mostly because I was fascinated by the whole mythical bird thing and thought it would be beyond cool to live in a place that represented this metaphor. I wanted to move to Texas (low cost of living). I wanted to move to Connecticut (Angela Bower, Who’s the Boss, yeah). I wanted to move to Florida (no winters).

Europaitis is not new. But it’s potent. It surpasses all those other places. It’s real. It’s almost tangible. And I want to make it happen.


The voice inside my head: What is it about Europe? What is it about France or Italy or England or wherever? Am I romanticizing these places, based on books I’ve read or films I’ve seen or the fantasies I allow to frequently overwhelm my senses and my mind? Do I have the unrealistic view that a new place won’t mean old problems, old stresses, that blasted “same ole” quality about life that I’ve grown to highly disdain? Is this a want or a need?

The other voice inside my head: I’m going to figure out those answers.




Sincerely, Taj

Dear World, I have stuff to say, so get cozy. Here, I've got cupcakes.

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