Blanche’s Book Club: ‘The Poet X’.

This is Holly A. Phillips reporting live from under a comforter that likely needs to be washed and an electric blanket. Conditions are stable, but could use organization and espresso-based beverages.

This week has been weird – I feel busy and lazy all at once. I’m feeling those ups and downs of solopreneurship as it comes time for bills to be paid. Even though I do have enough money to pay my bills (!) this is the first time I’ve ever made enough money for that, and truthfully, it hurts a little more to turn it over for rent.

BRB while I go hang outside of my second-story window whilst burning my stack of bills, wearing a faux leather jacket screaming, “We’re not gonna paaaay, we’re not gonna paaaay, WE’RE NOT GONNA PAY RENT!!!”

I’ve also been suffering from quite a bit of grief lately. It’s nearing the anniversary of my dad’s passing, and my heart is heavy. I keep having dreams about my dad — most of them are good — but it makes my days cloudy.

Every day this week has served up a struggle to get out of bed and get work done. I’m trying to be productive for my clients, but also kind to myself. So, Monday, I mostly stayed under the covers while answering emails.

The tough thing about times like these is that I don’t really know what would make me feel better. One thing I learned in 2018 is to not deny myself anything that brings me a smile, even if it may not be a perfect decision. For example, I’m going to a journal decorating event at the library tonight and I think I’m going to treat myself to some peanut M&Ms and a Cherry Coke while I’m there.

I have some major journaling on my heart and have been writing up a fresh poem in my head that I’ll share soon here. But in the meantime, let’s talk about the latest read from Blanche’s Book Club!

It’s “The Poet X” by Elizabeth Acevedo. Here is the description from Amazon:

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about.

With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

I heard about this book on an episode of “What Should I Read Next?” and I was able to pick it up from the library fairly quickly. I loved the idea that the main character was a talented poet but was nearly too scared to share her craft.

One thing I did NOT expect from this book… the entire thing is poetry! At first, it took me awhile to really get into it and I wasn’t sure I was going to understand the plot. But that quickly subsided and I was hooked.

I wrote down several quotes from the book and I’ll share some of my favorites here:

When your body takes up more room than your voice // You are always the target of well-aimed rumors.

Sometimes it seems like writing is the only way I keep from hurting.

Because every day the idea of poetry club is like Eve’s apple: something you want but can’t have.

I only know that learning to believe in the power of my own words has been the most freeing experience of my life. It has brought me the most light. And isn’t that what a poem is? A lantern glowing in the dark.

I’d say read this one if you like poetry at all – there’s much more of a story to it than the poetry club, but you’ve gotta be interested in WORD.

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Always and Forever, Lara Jean” by Jenny Han. Have a great day, everyone!

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