22 Jun 2018

what I’m reading: florida & the isle of youth

Photo by Elijah O’Donell on Unsplash

The world is on fire. It’s hard out there if you’re a decent human being. It’s even harder if you’re a marginalized one. In these truly frightening times, I find it hard to create because all I keep thinking about is the prescience of Serena Joy in The Handmaid’s Tale, a PayPal customer service rep being okay with sending me an email that ends  in “God bless,” and thousands of children wrenched from their parents and a part of this country that serves as a literal parrot of Fox News. Most of us are coddled by our blindness and privilege, but that’s what they want. They want you to feel helpless; they feed off of it–the temporary limitations of our power. Don’t let them. Let rage be your guide, someone writes on Twitter. Use your bodies, your voices, your dollars, and ability to vote in EVERY single election, regardless of how small. We can’t afford to be complacent. We can’t afford to think that the unthinkable would never happen.

In her recent newsletter, my friend Hitha wrote that she limits her consumption of Twitter to 30 minutes a day and relies on a few trusted sources of news to keep informed and current. In recent months, I’ve pared down my social media usage substantially. I deleted my Facebook account for good. I’m forcing myself to cease the mindless scrolling that serves to pull you away from the things that matter and stew in rage unproductively (I’m TRYING, but it’s been hard). For the most part, I focus on my work, the things that are in my control right now, and finding some space to get centered and calm because 24/7 rage is unproductive.

To that end, I’m reading. A lot.

It was sort of serendipitous that I fell upon two remarkable story collections centered in Florida: Lauren Groff’s Florida and Laura van den Berg’s The Isle of Youth.

When I first read Groff’s Fates & Furies, I fell in LOVE. The lushness of her writing, the fact that she can turn a single sentence into a hurricane (per a New York Times review), and the precision of her vision–all of this put my heart on pause. As a writer, I’m inspired by this level of mastery. In her latest limber collection, Florida is wild and unruly. From the snakes and palmettos to the relentless heat and tangled flora–something stirs just below the surface and the stirring is as persistent as the heat. I loved how Groff balances the menace and beauty of the state. From failed marriages to emotional and physical disconnection, Groff’s characters are for want, they’re endlessly searching for something.

Two young girls, abandoned by their elders, become resourceful foragers on a deserted fishing island. A novelist whisks her two young sons away on a last-minute trip to France in an effort to start research on a book about Guy de Maupassant but instead falls deeper into isolation and despair. A woman braves a hurricane, alone, and is haunted by her losses. A homeless former professor wanders the streets searching for sustenance in all its forms. Rarely do I love EVERY story in a collection. Usually, there is a slew of dim lights amongst the burning stars, but Groff’s was so breathtaking and haunting, that I couldn’t put the book down. Isn’t it a luxury to lose yourself entirely within the confines of a front and back cover. If you buy a collection this year, let it be this one. 

I’ve known Laura van den Berg socially for quite some time and I’ve been an ardent admirer of her work. Last year, I read her fantastic novel Find Me, and while I was deep in my latest book purge I discovered her collection–one I hadn’t read for some reason–and I curled up and got lost again in the lush southern landscape. Like in Groff’s collection, van den Berg’s The Isle of Youth is populated by women yearning for uncomplicated lives when their current existence is a fall that feels bottomless. A couple, en route to their honeymoon in Patagonia, experience a crash landing and an injury that follows the wife for the remainder of the story. Nursing her pain, the wife looks her husband as if it’s the first time she’s seen him. An avalanche of doubt about her love and life looms large over their holiday. Two hapless sister detectives finally reunite with the real-life mystery surrounding their father. A seventeen-year-old daughter spends her nights as a partner in her mother’s second-rate magician act, pilfering money for customers to move to Hollywood only to discover the lies and magic can be two sides of the same coin. Twin sisters play the trading places game to learn the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side.

If you have the time, space, or luxury to get lost for a little while–especially when the world feels aflame–I encourage you to check out these two wonderful collections.

 

 

Full disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post. 

2 Comments

  1. Melissa F. wrote:

    Love Lauren Groff’s writing. FLORIDA is in my pile of library books (like you, I’ve been immersing myself in reading lately). Definitely try DELICATE EDIBLE BIRDS, her collection from 2009.
    The Isle of Youth is a new-to-me title — sounds wonderful.

    Posted on 6.23.18 · Reply to comment
    • admin wrote:

      Thanks for the tip, Melissa! I’ll definitely check it out. You’ll love Laura’s writing.

      Warmly, Felicia

      Posted on 6.23.18 · Reply to comment

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Instagram

  • So...apparently I’m writing a new book. It’s interesting (or odd, depending on your view) that new work comes in my darker moments. I started my last book after I had a breakdown from a job (and sociopathic boss) that was killing me. I was in Biarritz when I started what would become my second book, which is darker than my first book.
.
This time, I’m toying with what happens when you climb out of the dark (my first two never got to that place). The book is titled The Only Possible and it centers on the close friendship between two broken women who are climbing out of their familial and person wreckage. This might be the first long work that ends with hope. I have this marker for myself, which is totally arbitrary. If I get to 50 good pages, the book is real.
.
I’m at 52, so I suppose this thing is real. Light in the dark and like that.
.
A brief thank you to the people who’ve been there for me these past few weeks. The ones who haven’t ignored or muted my posts—you are true friends and allies. Thank you for your friendship and kindness. I don’t give my heart and trust to many people for these obvious reasons, but I’m grateful to those that have it.
.
.
.
.
#amwriting #risingtidesociety #thehustle #novelwriting #writersofig
  • Come, have a seat. Settle in with some tea and read all the incredible articles I’ve been sharing on @medium. From step-by-step tutorials on going Live and a blueprint for launching products online to personal essays, you’ve got the whole kit and caboodle. Hit up the link in profile to get the goods.
.
.
.
.
#beingboss #risingtidesociety #marketingdigital #marketingstrategy #femtrepreneur #thehustle #brandstrategist #livestream #goinglive #digitalmarketing
  • Can we talk?
.
I think it’s important to learn from the experiences we’re desperate to forget. Some of my greatest teachings come from working with terrible clients and sociopathic bosses. I wrote about this on medium (@felsull) and I’d love for to check it out, clap, and share.
.

But remember this. Don’t let anyone define your worth. Only you have the right to that math. No one deserves to be yelled at. No one deserves verbal abuse. No one deserves to hear that they’re worthless, stupid, or an idiot. You are the guardian of your worth.
.

Constructive feedback is a valuable tool, but it doesn’t define you as a person. We will fail. We’ll botch a job or make mistakes. Value comes from learning from the missteps, in creating systems and processes for yourself that reduces the likeliness of that mistake from happening again. Your worth is not the measure of your failures, but how you’ve rebounded from them. How you’ve grown professionally AND personally. It’s about you standing up in the wreckage and saying, okay, let’s keep going.
.

Your worth is not bound to your work product — it’s defined by all the things that make you, you.
.
.
.
.
#bizadvice #entrepreneur #freelancingadvice #thehustle #badclients
  • This morning, I finished all my deliverables for two of my biggest projects this year. I can’t believe I got it all done!!! Save for two client calls today, I plan to spend the day supine and watching horror movies. #yassssss #brandstrategist #marketingstrategy
  • I used to be this intense person and I assure you this is not a compliment. I went at everything so hard. I worked through pain and exhaustion. I cleaved to velocity — a body in motion stays in motion and like that. Force = mass x acceleration and like that. I placed more value on outcomes than inputs. I cared about what people thought of me and wanted to please everyone at the expense of my well-being. I placed an unhealthy level of emphasis on amassing a large collection of people in my life more than cultivating richer relationships with a handful. I pursued things at the expense of the quiet nobility of living an honest, full life.
.

My wake-up call was a phonebook packed with numbers but no one to call when I was breaking. What changed during that dark time was this: I began to live small and this is, I assure you, is a good thing.
.

Small isn’t a pejorative. It’s about getting surgical about the people and things that inhabit your life. Cut the barnacles. Eliminate that which is extraneous and unnecessary. Don’t settle for common or this is how it’s always been done. Small is about the amount of noise you allow in. It’s about making the choices that won’t please the majority of people, but you end up pleasing yourself. It’s the difference between living in a mansion and creating a house that is a home. Fewer, better are words whose meaning has shifted for you. They are words of wealth. And more suddenly feels like a burden.
.

For those who suffer from depression, meds and therapy simply level the playing field. They elevate you from negative integers to zero. It’s easier to build from zero than from mounting losses. Meds and therapy don’t create shiny, happy people. There are days that are dark and tough and what’s allowed me to function during that time is the concept of living simply and small.
.
.
.
#realtalk #depression #productivity #entrepreneurlife #thehustle #risingtidesociety #mentalhealth #selfcare
  • Yesterday, I finished up a 138-page tactical marketing plan along with a 27-slide summary deck. I felt like I climbed Everest and had some coconut ice cream to celebrate. Today, I’m hitting the ground running with a coffee and a sweet pick-me-up. Who’s ready for today?
.
.
.
.
.
#coffeegram #thehustle #clementinedaily #risingtidesociety #entrepreneur #brandstrategist #marketingconsultant #chocolatelover
  • Here’s the thing: life is messy. We are flawed by design. Being authentic and real is about appreciating all aspects of yourself and your business. It’s about weathering the tough moments with grace and setting a path and example for others who are standing alongside you in the struggle. It’s about acknowledging and learning from your shortcomings and blind spots. It’s about saying, you’re right. I fucked up. Here’s how I’m going to make amends. There’s nobility in leading an honest life and being the kind of person who is unabashed, shamelessly you.
.

Whether you’re a business of two or two hundred—using plastic tactics to market yourself and your business is a surefire way to start the clock on your expiration date. I’m in the midst of creating a seven-day challenge on real and practical tips on marketing yourself whether you’re fresh out of school and looking for a job or you want to switch careers or you’re in the nascent stages of starting your own business.
.
Why me? I’ve been in marketing for nearly two decades. Ive built business and the brands of F500 companies. I’ve had career changes and side hustles. And I actually know what I’m talking about (don’t be swayed by these IG “business coaches” who have zero marketing or work experience).
.
Why? People have developed allergies to bullshit. People can see right through duplicity, and there’s always a non-smarmy option hovering in view. In my weekly newsletter, I’m sharing  five simple ways to market yourself without being a large-scale douche. Link in profile to subscribe. .
.
.
.
.
.
#risingtidesociety #marketingtips #thehustle #brandstrategist #brandidentity #entrepreneur #beingboss
  • Phoebe & Kate just got a little refresh! Check me out at http://www.phoebeandkate.com.
.
.
.
.
.
#brandstrategist #marketingstrategy #thehustle #wednesdayvibes

Follow Me!