It’s READING MONTH

Dear M.A. Gavin,

If you can’t tell from the title, I am ecstatic it is reading month.  I think this comes only second to my excitement for Banned Books week in September.  You are currently at a point in life and school where everyday is reading month based on how much you have to read.  For me, however, reading month is permission to carry a baker’s dozen worth of books everywhere, wear my Green Eggs and Ham chucks everyday, and shamelessly spout the importance of reading to anyone who will even half listen.  Fortunately, as a teacher, I am not considered crazy despite my overwhelming excitement (yes, overwhelming is accurate word – as my students stare at me wide eyed and jaw dropped 97% of the time).

We have a pretty intense love of reading, but it is impressive how the love of reading comes in different forms.  For example, there is a bibliophile who is a lover of books.  According to Oxford Dictionaries website, a librocubcultarist describes “someone who reads in bed.”  A more colloquial term is a “bookworm,” which we have been called on more than one occasion.

While I think all three of these terms accurately describe me, I don’t think any of them accurately describe  a simple love of reading.  Reading anything and everything you can get your hands on, consuming an abundance of information, in various digital and print forms.  Remember when you first started learning to read, and the feeling you got when you started seeing and reading words all around you?  It is that ecstasy, that simple love and wonder of reading and the world, I return to each March.   I wish there was a word for that feeling, for that love of reading, not of books, not someone who reads quickly, but for someone infatuated by the act of reading and who engages in it as often as possible.  If you know the word for it, let me know; I should add it to my elevator speech.

Additionally, our love of reading is founded in personal idiosyncrasies.  For example, my ability to read in a car, but inability to read for more than five minutes after work without passing out book open in my lap, mouth agape, and drool dribbling down my chin.  Instead, I choose to get up earlier than I need to, in order to enjoy reading in the morning.  The peace I feel on Saturday mornings is near perfection, as the sun rises through my front window, birds chirping, a warm cup of tea in my favorite mug, my current read in my lap, and one or two puppies curled up nearby.  The absurd croaking – RIBIT! – I hear in my head or aloud anytime I come across a gushy part of a story adds to my reading experience every time.  Going back to reread old favorites, receiving recommendations, and exploring new genres, help my love of reading continue to grow and flourish.

I wish you and everyone else a most joyful reading month, full of adventures, romances, inquiries, and discoveries.  I implore you to share your love of reading with children by reading to or with them, and with friends or family members by giving recommendations or discussing what you’ve read.  I leave you with a well used, but ever accurate quote from George R.R. Martin, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies.  The man who never reads lives only one.”

Happy Reading,

M.R. Gavin

suMMer is calling my name!

M.R. Gavin,

Hello hello hello. It’s GORGEOUS in my corner of the world right now, sunny and 65 degrees! The past week has been crazy hectic and I don’t see it slowing down any time soon, but I’m glad I found a quick moment to reply to your letter.

Like you, I am very excited for this journey, and I have a feeling our letters, stories, jokes, and opinions will only get better as time goes on. We have a lot of  e x c i t i n g things coming our way that I have no doubt will lead to philosophical discussions on the meaning of life and to funny, embarrassing, and gut busting anecdotes.

This beautiful weather has me thinking a lot about summer, and I cannot wait for it to be here. In order to keep my excitement in check, I made a list of all the things I am most excited for this summer:

  1. LONDON – I can neither confirm nor deny that I’ve been listening exclusively to British classic rock in preparation for my London summer adventure
  2. ICE CREAM – We eat a lot of ice cream to begin with, but copious ice cream consumption is deemed socially acceptable in the summertime.
  3. WARM WEATHER- It’s warm right now, but tomorrow there could be ten inches of snow on the ground. I prefer consistency.
  4. ALASKA – What can I say, this summer’s travel itinerary rocks! Also, did someone say whale watching?
  5. YOU – I’ll get to spend a whole week with you (and M.J. Gavin, Momaroo, Gramsicle, et al.) and we’ll be on a boat (woot woot!)
  6. BOOOOOOKS – Something about summertime reading is just magical
  7. DOGS – I miss all the puppers while I’m away, but I’ll get to hang out with Bubba for a few weeks in May
  8. SHORTS – and t-shirts and anything that is not a sweater or a coat.
  9. LONDON – I feel like this needs to be listed twice (also ALASKA)

(For the record, I made this a nine point list because I like square numbers.)

This week I read Five Point Someone: What Not To Do at IIT by Chetan Bhagat. I have some criticisms of it, but I think it’s worth reading. There is also a Bollywood movie called 3 Idiots based off the book. I watched it Friday, and I’ve had the soundtrack stuck in my head ever since (~ zoobi doobi zoobi doobi ~).

Talk soon!

Love,

M.A. Gavin

On Journeys

M.A. Gavin,

Thank you for the book recommendation.  I am rapidly approaching the end of a reading journey, and am looking for some new literature to explore.  As I complete The Dark Tower series by Stephen King, I am reminded of what P.D. Duck would say, “The point of the journey is not to arrive.”  That quote is oddly fitting in both the context of a reader, and of the story.  The series is essentially about a man’s journey to the Dark Tower.  It is his entire life’s work, and although I have not finished, I am afraid the main character, Roland, may be disappointed in what he finds when he arrives, but hopefully, he recognizes the beauty and impact of his quest.  In the context of a reader, finishing a book is not the point.  If it where we would just skip to the end.

You offered a quote that very accurately describes our current political situation.  It is funny how you can always find a quote to describe a situation, but I find P.D. Duck’s quote – borrowed from Neil Peart – to be one I regularly reflect on.  If the point of life was to arrive, would we simply want to arrive at death?  Thank heavens that is not the case!  Each leg of life is a journey, and those journeys build and intersect to create a series of journeys  we call life.  Unfortunately, I often find myself less focused on the journey, and more focused on the outcome.

Imagine if instead of reflecting on a journey at its completion, we were more open to embracing the journey as it happened.  There could be more learning, more willingness to experiment and explore, more meaningful interactions; the possibilities are endless.  Consequently, a journey is just aimless wanderings if there isn’t some sort of end game or goal.  I guess my point is, while it is important to have goals and plans, we need to be willing to embrace changes and opportunities as they present themselves to make the most of the journey, and have the best outcome at the conclusion.

I am glad our journeys have largely overlapped, and for once I am not too anxious to see how this particular journey (writing) ends.  Instead, I am ready to embrace whatever our writing journey brings us, and enjoy every word, sentence, and paragraph we string together.

While you left me with a book suggestion, I am not yet sure how I want to conclude my half of our correspondence.  So for now, I encourage you to embrace your journey, and hope to hear from you soon.

Happy reading, and happy writing!

-M.R. Gavin

To M.R. Gavin, With Love

My Dearest M.R. Gavin,

Please forgive my absence. I’ve been busy writing, reading, and trying to understand the state of the universe. It is an all-encompassing endeavor, as I am sure you can imagine. I was also pooped on by a low-flying pigeon, which, retrospectively, looked rather large and rather magical.

In my recent undertakings and thought experiments, I’ve dwelled on one of my all-time favorite quotes :”The spaceships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t” (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). It seems to me that the current political scene is much like bricks hanging in the sky. They should fall aggressively to the ground, succumbing to the rules of gravity, yet they continue to hang there precariously, threatening to crush us all on our morning commute. Further, to protect us all, I think we should be less concerned with building a wall, and more concerned with constructing a brick-proof forcefield. But thats just a thought.

As for your suggested reasons for my absence, I appreciate your creativity. Number one was relatively accurate. I have been busy exercising my civic duties, and have therefore neglected you. For this, I am truly sorry. Number two could never be true. Much as it pains me to say, I could never truthfully dislike you. You are the wind beneath my wings, the Shaggy to my Scooby, and the person I call when no one else will pick up the phone. As I stated previously, number three may have some merit, but I have no actual proof.Finally, I did not run away, at least no farther than normal. As always, you are more than welcome to visit, and I look forward to finding  you at my doorstep unannounced at 5:30 in the morning.

I would love to write you letters, and it will surely be a good place for political musings, funny stories, and bad puns. I don’t think we should constrain ourselves with a word count, given the enormity of our thoughts and the limit of our schedules. Should you be content with this amendment, I’d be happy to continue letter writing.

Finally, M.R. Gavin, I’d like to leave you with a book recommendation (I might make this a standing part of my letters). This week I read The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid, and I think you’d enjoy it.

Until next time,

M.A. Gavin

 

Something new

M.A. Gavin,

It has been two months since the conclusion of our first co-authored story, and two months since the election that has undoubtedly changed our country.  Why we stopped writing is a mystery to me, although I would like to suggest some potential reasons.

1: The election results.  Due to the election of now President Donald J. Trump (#notmypresident), you were initially too depressed to continue writing our silly stories – designed primarily for our own entertainment.  Now, because of the political atmosphere you are distracted from writing by other obligations to defend the rights of fellow Americans, protest the insanity of the political scene, and to educate yourself with an arsenal of material to provoke conversation and potentially open the eyes of others.  Perhaps, now that we have this new president, we can restructure our blog from fiction to a platform allowing us to provoke thought and conversation.

2:  You no longer like me.  Was I too much for you over the holidays?  Did I overstep a line when we wore matching pajamas?  Are you holding a grudge because my dog vomited in your bed?  Perhaps I didn’t laugh at one of your jokes – I am obligated as your straight man.   Was I not gracious enough when you cooked for me?   Whatever the possibility, I express my sincerest apologies and hope to make it up to you with a round of naked yoga, bird calling, or an extremely large dish of ice cream, and then, continue our writing endeavors.

3: You were attacked by a magical creature.  Is there a creature capable of stealing one’s memories?  There must be!  Why else would you have stopped our writing experiment?  One day you were walking in the city, contemplating your next piece of writing, brainstorming how we should proceed, and suddenly, it swooped out of the sky and knocked all memory of this blog right from your head.  Why else would you have left me hanging?

4: You ran away.  We are certainly not the most well traveled pair.  Maybe you decided it was time for you to embark on a hero’s quest.  Exploring the great unknown you are traveling far and wide, north and south, east and west meeting a host of people opening your eyes to far better writing than ours, new ideas and views of others.  Regardless of where you are travelling… WHY DIDN’T YOU INVITE ME?!

Well, those are my primary thoughts on where you could be, or what could have happened to our writing endeavor.  Nonetheless, I felt it was time to pick up one pen and see what happens.  I propose we begin again either with a new fictional story, or in a blog correspondence, or whatever else you may fancy.  We still choose a day to post, and stay at approximately 500 words.

I hope you consider this proposal and pick up a pen.  Please include if any of my above conclusions are correct (I am leaning toward 2 or 3 being most likely).

Happy Reading!

-M.R.Gavin

Chapter 45

“Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream,” rang through Beatrice’s head, not only because they were in a boat, but also because her mother was singing it at the top of her lungs, with Pepe howling in the background. Arthur sighed, audibly annoyed.

“What’s next?” Beatrice called over the crashing waves.

“Hopefully land,” grunted Arthur.

Just then, Beatrice heard a loud mechanical buzz coming up behind them.  It was a helicopter! Pepe, whose favorite pastime was chasing cars, tried leaping out of the boat, but was caught in mid air by Beatrice’s mother moments before plunging into the dark abyss. The helicopter slowed to a hover shining lights upon their dingy.  

“They found us!” Beatrice’s mother wailed, “I knew it was too good to be true.”

But Arthur sat smiling casually, seemingly unperturbed.

Arthur’s team popped their heads out of the helicopter, calling out to reassure the boat’s passengers everything would be okay, and they would soon be safe.

However, they soon found everything would not be okay. Because at that very moment a behemoth of a whale leaped out of the choppy ocean, hitting the helicopter with a flick of its tail and sending it spinning. Arthur’s team began yelling a series of expletives followed by some very official sounding numbers and concluded with Bobby screaming, “Abort mission!” One by one, they put on their helicopter hats and flew away, leaving Beatrice, her mother, and Arthur stranded once again.

Baffled, the three sat in the boat silently. Even Pepe didn’t move an inch.  Time seemed to have stopped.

After what felt like centuries passed, Arthur spoke. “Well, that didn’t go as planned.”

They sat a little while longer, unsure if Arthur’s team would come back and wondering what would happen if they didn’t.

Suddenly, as if answering their prayers, the water around them began to bubble and churn. The boat rocked perilously; Beatrice’s mother shivered. Looking to her right, Beatrice could see something moving in the water. She feared the whale was returning destined to sink their small boat.

POP

It wasn’t a whale, but the large metal hull of a submarine appeared instead.  As it settled parallel to them, the hatch on the top of the submarine creaked open. Climbing out of the vessel was someone Beatrice recognized, but could not place due to the individual’s uniformed attire and department issued cap.  

“That’s my boss,” Arthur leaned in and whispered.  Beatrice didn’t have to look to know Arthur was smiling and saluting.  

“Ma’am,” he said.

“Arthur,” she replied, “Beatrice, Tess.  Your work has been phenomenal.  Because of you we have finally been able to infiltrate the cousins and will be stopping them from any further terror.  We will need you to confirm the identities of each of them, and verify that none are missing.”

Her voice was what allowed Beatrice to identify, Arthur’s boss as…

 

 

 

Hillary Clinton.

#notmypresident #stillwithher  

 

Epilogue

The four of them, Arthur, Beatrice, her mother, and Pepe were able to identify all of the cousins, but one remained unaccounted for – Beatrice’s father.  

  • M.M. Gavin

Chapter 45 Postponed

In light of today’s, November 8, 2016, historical relevance, we will be postponing the publication of Chapter 45.  Please take time to vote for the future president, congressional, state, and local representatives and ensure your voice is heard.  Thank you for understanding, and check back for Chapter 45 soon.

-M.M. Gavin