I've never really understood why I loathe September so much. It sounds nice; summer giving way to fall, cooler temperatures to refresh the heat-addled body, even the word Sep-tem-ber rolls off the tongue rather nicely. But there is something about this month that leaves me dragging and cranky and in a dark mood.
I believed this to be a personal peculiarity along with things like preferring words made up of a quantity of letters that are divisible by three (12 is nice, 6 is okay, 9 is superb, so "resplendence" is fine, as is "comely," but "fantastic" is, well, fantastic) and dill but never never never bread and butter pickles. In the past couple years, however, I found on more and more websites and blogs written by those suffering from some form of mental illness or other that SEPTEMBER IS THE DEVIL. It would seem that September rolls around and people are like, "Hello, thirty days-worth of upping my meds. Welcome. Please let me survive this one."
This is wonderful (9 letters! Welcome into my head; I promise not to do the number thing in any more posts, even though I do it in my own brain more or less constantly "constantly" has twelve letters and is therefore somewhat worthy of notice I will stop now) because it's easy, if you spend any more than around one hour per week online to believe that the internet is no more or less than a writhing morass of spite. Like anything else, this online world can be a force for good, if only to let you know that you are not alone in your distaste for the month of September. Let's all start a campaign to change the name from "September" to something that will at least give us all fair warning, like, "Oh, look, it's almost Melancholy," or "Let's see, we're coming up on the last week of August, before you know it it'll be Doldrums."
And what about August? I see nothing august about August; it's all sweaty and lethargic. Let's change that one, too.
Anyway. Thankfully, the brand-spankin'-new fancy library opened up in the nearby Big Town, so all the books I'd been reserving online were finally available. So rather than What I've Been and/or Am Currently Reading, here's What I'm About To Read and Am Super Duper Excited About Despite The Fact That It's September.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
First of all, "Circumnavigated," 15 letters, I am dying. In a good way. This book was recommended by one of my favorite authors, and although the title alone cries out that this, THIS is a book worth reading, the subtitle of Chapter 1 reads: "Exeunt on a Leopard: In Which a Girl Named September Is Spirited Off by Means of a Leopard, Learns the Rules of Fairyland, and Solves a Puzzle."
First of all, I wrote the above September diatribe before I cracked the spine of this book and learned that THE PROTAGONIST'S NAME IS SEPTEMBER. Maybe this will help me learn to love this month; after all, some of my favorite people were born in September: my dear friend Amanda, Derek's mom, the sweet, sweet boy who shows up a couple photos down. I'm excited about this book.
This book has been recommended by so many superior introverts, I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to pick it up. They've all spoken of its insight and importance, but I'm still not entirely sure what to expect of a 266-page nonfiction book on introversion. I mean, I'm obviously an introvert, myself, so... what is she going to tell me? Hopefully all kinds of thought-provoking and helpful wisdom. We'll see.
Fit to Burst: Abundance, Mayhem, and the Joys of Motherhood by Rachel Jankovic
I read Ms. Jankovic's first book, Loving the Little Years, a couple years ago, and so enjoyed her wit and practical thoughts about parenting in a compassionate, grace-filled way, I determined I'd read this one just as soon as I finished all the other books I wanted to read. (Hardy. Har. Har.) Then I forgot about it and it only just flashed back across my mind a week ago, which may or may not have been God's doing; after the night-terror-laden, sleepless night we had last night, I could really do with a little, 120-page reminder that mothering is something I get to do, not a chore or obstacle to the rest of my life. Kind of a heavy burden to put on such a tiny book, but we'll see how she does.
On the right, Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos, on the left, my own piece of September-born joy.
This book was recommended by Jen Hatmaker, which means I have to read it. Okay, so not really, but when she recently posted lists of her favorite books, I looked at the ones I hadn't yet read, and the blurb on this one jumped out at me as something lovely and helpful at smoothing me through this month.
On the right, An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor, on the left, the boy who finally discovered I was taking pictures.
I have had two friends in the past month say to me, "HOW HAVE YOU NOT READ BARBARA BROWN TAYLOR?" and I've been like, "I've been reading, you know, other stuff," and then they said variations on WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU and YOU CALL YOURSELF A READER and then I got all huffy and almost decided not to ever read anything by Ms. Taylor because I am, at times, just the teensiest (9 letters!) bit obstinate (9 letters!), but then I got over myself and reserved it at the library. I'm very curious about this one, as I didn't allow myself to read a single thing about the book or the author. No preconceived notions or expectations whatsoever, except that I am apparently a terrible, half-imbecilic person for not having read her work already. Whatever, friends.
How is September treating you?