Sarcastic Narcosis #6: Smoking Angels

angels 2 copy 2

“You know what humans say: If you can’t beat em, join em,”

said the angel with a raspy voice.

 

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New Year’s Resolution #8: Do More Yoga

Yoga Bones

As I formulate my New Year’s resolutions for 2018, I will most-definitely add do more yoga to that list. Not only is yoga a great physical and mental workout, but it’s an effective way to understand the body (bones, muscles, internal organs, etc). Having performed various stretches and postures called asanas, I’ve realized that (besides being as limber as dried-up coral washed ashore), my body parts have grown quite imbalanced. For example, my left arm and leg are way more flexible than my right arm and leg. Why is that? What scientific phenomenon has caused this disparity throughout the years? Besides this question, doing yoga has brought up many, many more. And it’s asking questions about ourselves and the world around us that keeps our minds on the path of curiosity and creativity. So get ready, yoga mat, you’ll be seeing more of my rigid skeleton in 2018!

Quiet Book Review #2: Amanda in New Mexico

Amanda in New Mexico

Amanda in New Mexico is a young adult novel about a world-traveling student named—you guessed it—Amanda. Whoa, deja vu! Her 10th grade teacher (and most suspect chaperon ever), Ms. Bowler, leads her class on a haunted field trip to Taos, New Mexico. Here, Amanda’s eccentric friend, Cleo, has many encounters with “ghosts.” Then, Amanda starts having many encounters with “ghosts.” Trying to enjoy her time in a foreign land, Amanda shrugs off these hauntings as coincidences and carries on, snapping photographs and writing travelogues for her site, Kidsblog. In the meantime, Cleo is going through serious psychological distress and is on the brink of a mental breakdown while their suspect chaperon keeps checking boxes off their itinerary (how about a box for mental clinic, Ms. Bowler? Your student has major issues!). From here, the narrative turns into a spooky whodunit filled with mystery, mayhem and dialogue straight out of a Saved by the Bell episode.

Amanda in New Mexico is the perfect read for teenagers interested in any of the following: ghost stories, adventure, southwestern history and geography. Author Darlene Foster portrays past and present life in New Mexico with great vibrancy and accuracy, even using Spanish terms to draw the reader into Amanda’s charming and elaborate surroundings. Overall, I like Amanda in New Mexico and give it an 85/100 on the Quiet Scale. To find out more about Darlene Foster and her latest works, click here.

QUIET SCALE-Amanda in NM

Note: If you are an author and would like to exchange book reviews, contact me here.

Quiet Book Review #1: Call Me Amy

Call Me Amy 2

Call Me Amy is a young adult novel about—you guessed it—a girl named Amy. Living in Port Wells, Maine in the 1970s, Amy grapples with the routine affairs of adolescence: boy crushes, identity formation, mothering an injured baby seal. Like I said—routine. Being an animal lover herself, author Marcia Strykowski effortlessly portrays Amy as a smart and empathetic 8th-grader trying to make (what she feels are) the right decisions. Amy’s quirky yet unpredictable personality keeps the reader interested in her daily adventures from beginning to end, an end which is sure to evoke both tears of sadness and tears of joy; in other words, an emotional rollercoaster (don’t worry—a kid-sized one). Call Me Amy is perfect for any elementary or junior high reader interested in connecting with nature, developing a solid core of ethics and building meaningful relationships in Middle America. The characters are well-fleshed out and their interactions are fun and realistic. I recommend this novel and give it an 88/100 on the Quiet Scale. To see what else Marcia Strykowski has been working on, click here.

Quiet Scale

Note: If you are an author and would like to exchange book reviews, contact me.

 

Calming the Heart and Soul

Sifting through these photos of Sri Lanka, I realize life is all about connecting. Why do we do anything? Listen to music. Watch a movie. Play in a band. Write a novel, a blog. Travel abroad. Take photos. Go to a bar. Say a prayer. Watch the sunset. Connection. Connection with nature, humanity, the ethereal, an idea, ourselves.

If we didn’t, life would have little meaning.

Cave Paintings of Dambulla

The volume of cave paintings at Dunhuang, China versus Dambulla, Sri Lanka is without parallel, but the beauty, reverence and auspicious feng shui definitely are. Created by monks and artists around 100 BC, Dambulla Cave Temple contains hundreds of captivating murals and statues depicting Sri Lankan kings, Hindu Gods, the Buddha and his many acolytes. Carved into a colossal rock over 500 feet in height, the stunning visuals leave a transcendent impression on one’s heart and imagination.

Say a Prayer for the Morning After

On my 4th and 5th day, I travel to the ancient ruins of Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya, the eastern point of the Golden Triangle where 80’s synthpop group, Duran Duran, filmed their enchanting video, Save a Prayer.

Walking amidst stone temples, palaces and stepped pyramids, I notice a striking resemblance to the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat located 4,200 miles to the east. Both cultures must have come from a similar place of origin and/or shared a common architectural blueprint. Whichever the case, they are both immersed in mystery and magic.