follow tali on ...

the everyman memoirs

The official blog of author Tali Nay.
JUL
28

Fireworks: Musings on a Small Town

b2ap3_thumbnail_firework.jpg

This is just a firework, and a mediocre one at that, but it's a firework that was set off in my hometown, above the baseball fields in the town park. Other than Christmas, I go home so seldom that I think this past weekend may have been the first time in over a dozen years that I was around for the annual summer festival.

It's comforting, going home. You know where everything is, for a few days you feel as young as you did while living there, and that so much seems exactly the same is a great constant amidst the fluctuations fast enveloping all other aspects of your life. But even as I walked through the booths at the small festival thinking that everything--the layout, the goods, the pre-fireworks exploding anvil--was identical to when I was a teenager and taking some comfort in that, it was also a teensy bit alarming to realize how much about this trip was, in fact, different. The golf course has been renamed. To something totally ridiculous, by the way. The Dairy Queen is about to be replaced by another franchise; some dispute over fry sauce. And when I attended my old church congregation, I saw a sea of mostly strangers. It felt weird to introduce myself. "I grew up here," I said, as if I were reaching for some kind of justification for being there at all.

It's just the way of things, I suppose. You never forget or feel less endeared to a place, but the connections you have there grow thin when you move away and never come back. Writing books about the people you grew up with doesn't really help your cause either, but I've made my choices, I suppose. I guess I just wish I chose home more often. It's hard to find good fry sauce.

JUL
15

The Contest

b2ap3_thumbnail_books.jpg

It's that time of year again, folks. And I can't believe it's this far into the summer without me mentioning the annual Nay Family Summer reading contest (see: Summer Side Job).

Of course, for all the stacks of to-read books I always have on hand, I'm a bit embarassed to admit I'm only on my second book of the summer, and we're already over halfway through. Pretty sure my 5-year-old nephew is going to beat me on nothing but Horton Hears a Who.

Maybe I'll rally. Maybe I'll come down with mono and spend the entire month of August in bed. One can only hope.

 

 

JUN
21

The Longest Year

b2ap3_thumbnail_treesansblossoms.jpg

A year ago today I did my first full read-through of the newly-completed Jeweled. I remember this because of a sad event that occurred in my life immediately after I finished this read-through. But that’s not what I want to talk about.

There’s a tree in my front yard, the kind of tree that blossoms every spring. The weeks when the tree is in bloom are my favorite of the whole year, and I’ll often stop and stare out the front window at the sea of fluffy pink. The tree is so tall that the blossoms also fill the windows of my bedroom upstairs. I look forward to this every spring, but with such a long and heinous winter this year, it didn’t surprise me that April came and went with no blossoms. May, too. Mother Nature was just a bit behind schedule. Polar Vortexes can do that. Coming up on July now though, it’s finally occurred to me that the beating all living things took this winter may in fact have killed my tree.

It’s a sad thing to realize the highlight of such a beautiful season won’t ever come back. That there will be no more blossoms. That some precious, beautiful ability has been unable to withstand the impact of a traumatic event. An event I had no control over that has now forever altered every future spring; left them to seemingly always be worse than they once were. It is maddening, it is unfair, and it is certainly tragic, but at the end of the day, there is still a tree in my front yard. And it has managed to grow some leaves. Vibrant, green leaves. Not as appealing as fluffy pink blossoms, but they are proof enough of life. Not just that it goes on, but that it never left. It’s just different. And maybe even—someday—better. Leaves, after all, do mean potential, and who’s to say what future springs will bring?

This is what I am telling myself one year later. I miss the blossoms, spring was definitely different without them, and should they ever reappear it would quite possibly *make* my life, but I can’t continue mourning their loss. Besides, the season has changed, and I’m putting my money on summer.

OCT
03

I know what you read last summer

b2ap3_thumbnail_books_20131025-200948_1.jpg

Pretty sure I've mentioned before my obsession with People magazine, and one of my favorite things they do are those "books you should read for [insert whatever season it is]" features. It isn't so much reading the reviews of the books, but I love the picture that accompanies the whole thing...it will have all the books stacked. For some reason I just love looking at all those book spines in a row; love getting a glimpse about what the actual books themselves look like.

So here is my version, except instead of "books you should read for summer," mine is really a "books I did read this summer" stack. I've talked about all of them except the last 3, so let me just briefly say that The History of Love was creative and endearing and definitely worth reading (if not somewhat confusing to keep track of all the different story lines), Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me was absolutely hilarious and I liked it way more than Tina Fey's, and The Fault in Our Stars was a good effort on what turns out to be very intense subject matter, but I just can't get into YA anymore.

My total for the family summer reading competition was 2024 pages, (earning me $20.24). I beat my sister but not my Mom, but I don't know if anyone's ever beaten Mom. In any case, there were some good reads in that pile. And now it's fall, which means I'll have to see what People magazine says I should be reading. Those book spines are calling my name.

SEP
18

Holding Out

The first winter I was in Cleveland, I let the temperature in my house get down to 58 degrees before I turned on the heat. But it was September. So close to the heels of summer, I couldn't stomach the thought of turning on the heat. Five years later, I'm less tolerant of being cold when at home, but I still try to postpone the heat as long as I can. If I make it until October, I'm happy.

Yesterday morning when I was leaving for work, it was 43 degrees outside. Not exactly balmy. But I've got plenty of cushion room before I even think about turning on the heat. It's still 64 degrees inside. We'll see how long I last.

SEP
03

Weekend Totals

4,400 words. That was my total written over the long weekend. Not too shabby. Although it definitely cut into my pages read total (this is the final month of the family contest), which was like 20. Of course that didn't stop me from picking up two new titles while at B&N this weekend. (You know, for all this reading I'm doing.) If I can read the book I just started as well as the two I just bought before the month is out, I'll deem September a literary success. And if I win the family contest, I'll deem this the best summer ever.

JUN
14

Summer Side Job

b2ap3_thumbnail_books.jpg

My Mom began sponsoring a summer reading program years ago. It was just for us kids and had a maximum payout of $50 each, but still. We were being paid. To read. Game on. In those early years of the program, I remember being a bit irked that my much-younger brother was filling up his "completed books" list with kids books. Since we were paid by the page, how was this fair? His pages had only a small fraction of the words my adult pages had. Word count would have perhaps been a more accurate payout method, but pages made more sense. Mostly because they were actually measurable.

This summer reading program, dubbed Penny-a-Page, has continued, such that we still participate every year, even as adults. We're each allowed to pick the 3-month summerish date range that our payouts will be based on, and from there it becomes a bit of a friendly competition. I think I'll go with July-September. I've got some plane rides in there that should help my page total. Did I mention game on? (To this date I have never won. So, there's that.)

latest tweets

TaliNayBooks I think that's how you know it's a good book.
TaliNayBooks So engrossed in the end of #tinybeautifulthings that I didn't realize someone was stealing my carry-on from the plane. @CherylStrayed