How long have you been volunteering with CBR, and what is your area of expertise?
I just volunteered at the beginning of this year. My areas of expertise are mostly physical, if I am going to say that I’m an expert at all at anything, haha. I worked in theater for a long time – doing both props and set design- but it was a terribly stressful environment. For the last few years I have been teaching other adults behavioral and trauma informed interventions to help kids with neurological and emotional disabilities. Neither of those worlds really translate directly to CBR, so I kind of just waved my hand at MsWas with a “ooh ooh, pick me!” and now I’m wading my way through our Pinterest waters. I am learning a lot – I’ve always been more of an internet lurker than a participant, and until very recently the only social media that I took part in was Instagram, so I have a lot of catching up to do! I’m trying to get into Goodreads as well; I need a better organization strategy for my TBR than just stacking piles on the dining room table until they topple!
Can you tell us the “I broke my arm at the Statue of Liberty” story?
Yes I can! I was doing some very cool 4th grade “gymnastics” while waiting in line to get into the Statue of Liberty when my friend lifted a chain and ran under while I was attempting to jump over. I caught both feet on the chain and totally ate it, landing on both elbows. Broke one, sprained the other, and had to ride the field trip bus all the way back home to Connecticut with my arm in a sling made from an “I <3 NY” tee. Not my proudest moment, but also not my only injury sustained while visiting US landmarks. I also got a concussion on the viewing deck on the old World Trade Center and fell down the stairs at the Library of Congress. I am VERY coordinated.
You seem to read a wide variety of things. If some terrible literary plague suddenly struck the world and you could only save one genre, what would it be?
I am going to cheat a bit with this one and claim narrative/creative/literary non-fiction (so many people have named it in so many ways). I feel like it will give me the best variety, and I’ll probably be able to learn some useful things while we rebuild society from the ground up. For instance, I have learned an awful lot in this year alone about poisoning people AND preparing bodies for funeral, so there you go.
What’s your favorite book to recommend to new friends?
Jerry Spinelli’s Stargirl! It was recommended to me by a new-and-now-best friend years ago, and now I need to spread the word the same way she did for me. Also, I know I only read it at the start of this January, but I have bought at least a dozen copies of Jenny Odell’s How to Do Nothing and handed it out (with sticky notes!) to friends, family, and colleagues. It made me feel so much better about the world at large.
Where do you do most of your reading?
Most of my long-haul reading is done in the bathtub. It’s the only place I can really concentrate. I also carry small books (purse sized- no classic Russian tomes) on my person so that I always have something to do while I’m waiting in line. I listen to a lot of audio books, and I listen to those while commuting/doing chores/walking around town/taking off my face before bed. I’ve tried keeping an earbud in at work, but then I fail to pay attention to both the book and my work.
Are there any authors you will buy/read whatever they publish next, no blurb/synopsis required?
Kate Atkinson and Helen Oyeyemi could team up to ruin my life and I would still beg to read their work sight unseen.
How many times have you participated in CBR? Has it changed the way you read?
This is my second go-round. I did not hit my goal last year, but I made it half way! I sustained a brain injury a few years back (are you surprised?) and it annihilated many things about the way that I live my life. Within the last two years I have been able to claw my way back towards some semblance of normalcy, and CBR has helped me so much in getting there. This is the most writing that I have done in ages, and I feel more confident in my ability to describe my thoughts and feelings. I don’t think I could have done it without the no-pressure “pressure” of following along with CBR, so thank you all for that! To answer the original question though, it has changed the way that I consume audio media. I was a podcast fiend, and there are still some that I subscribe to regularly, but now I fill my “downtime” with audio books. It has also made me a better library user. My local library is beautiful, full of wonderful people, and lets me go wild on Hoopla.
If you could go anywhere for spring break (if you still got a spring break), where would it be?
Does time-travel count within “anywhere”? If so, I want to be a backup singer at The Bands final show at the Winterland Arena in 1976. Last Waltz forever. In more concrete terms I have been watching a lot of Travel Man lately (it is the perfect show to fall asleep to) and while I would love to visit everywhere they go, Copenhagen is really calling my name right now. Copenhagen or back to Iceland; Mr. andtheItoldyousos and I drove around the country in a camper van right after we got married and I’d love to relive that adventure. So I suppose that involves time-travel too.