Zombie Reads

For the last week I have been losing sleep and the only thing that knocks me out is a specific novel: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. It’s like it is calling me from the shelf:

Wake up … wake up—read me …
(At least it wasn’t calling: “Let me in! Let me in!”)

Or rather quotes from the story keep surfacing and I can’t sleep with the story playing in my head. Just watching the movie wasn’t enough (because, let’s face it, the movies are completely different from the novel). So, last night, I gave in and started to read it for the FOURTH time. It’s the most I’ve read any book because, hey, I have a lot of unread books on my shelves. Finally I slept through the night for a full 8 hours after reading a few chapters. Before that it was 4 to 6 every morning, tossing and turning, blaming it on the storm or my cat or my job hunt.

* * *

A 1943 Random House edition of "Wuthering Heights" purchased from Studio.

A 1943 Random House edition of “Wuthering Heights” purchased from Studio.

Last weekend when I was out celebrating the onset of summer, I stopped into one of my favorite stores on the Ave. It’s called Studio 213 LLC and they have about 8 or more rooms filled with different artist’s or collector’s items. The last room at the end of the long hallway is filled with old books and to my surprise I found a 1943 Random House edition of Wuthering Heights. I’ve been in this room several times (of course), but this time the title jumped out at me and I started squealing as I pulled it from the shelf. A stomachache arrived and everything. (Due to an adrenaline rush or maybe just pure excitement, these stomach issues happen every time I enter a bookstore. You can imagine my bathroom breaks when I worked in one.)

Wuthering Heights film 1992. Photo courtesy of www.fanpop.com.

Wuthering Heights film 1992. Photo courtesy of www.fanpop.com.

Not only was I thrilled to have finally gotten my hands on an old edition of the greatest novel/love story of all time (in my opinion), but this particular edition had my favorite cover art. It is an image that I’d discovered during an obsessive Google search shortly after I’d returned from my trip to England where I’d visited the Yorkshire Moors and Brontë Country. Wuthering Heights was the first of the 5 novels required for the English Department’s Study Abroad Program at UW-Oshkosh and I chose to read it first. My hands were shaking by the end of it and the addiction was official. But I read it again when I got home, just in case.

* * *

Wuthering Heights film 2009. Photo courtesy of www.filmlinks4u.net.

Wuthering Heights film 2009. Photo courtesy of www.filmlinks4u.net.

If you live in the Fox Cities, check out Studio; if not for the old books then for the artwork. Who knows what treasures may be waiting for you!

Also, if you haven’t read Wuthering Heights, please do so. It may take time to get used to the old English language if you don’t regularly read it, but it’s worth it. You may not even know why you want to read it again after your first try, but I can guarantee you will pick it back up again to see what you missed.

If you can’t handle reading a book without watching the movie or vise versa, I would recommend PBS Masterpiece Classic’s 2009 version for emotional impact (and my personal favorite Heathcliff played by the dreamy Tom Hardy) and the 1992 version (starring the wonderful Ralph Fiennes as Healthcliff) for a closer adaptation to the novel, though both still stray quite a bit. I always heard that the 1930 movie version was the best, but I haven’t gotten my hands on a copy yet, nor have I seen the 2011 version, which starred the first black Heathcliff.

Now I have to ask: Is there anyone else who is haunted by their favorite stories in the middle of the night? Do you ever give in and read until you’re able to fall back asleep? Please share and help me to feel less of a crazy person!

Gaining Some Insight at the Event of the Year

One thing is for sure:

Insight Publications is run by one hardworking, dedicated, and fun crew!


Nikki Kallio and I at the Insight Publications' 5-year anniversary party at the OuterEdge Stage in Appleton, Wisconsin.Photo courtesy of Nikki Kallio of Insight Publications.

Nikki Kallio and I at the Insight Publications’ 5-year anniversary party at the OuterEdge Stage in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Photo courtesy of Nikki Kallio of Insight Publications.

Co-publishers Brian Rasmussen (Sales & Marketing Director) and Margaret LeBrun (Executive Editor) started the magazine with its first publication in 2007. When the economy began to crumble, Insight gave those struggling businesses a face — of hope, you might say. The magazine has thrived into their 5th year where they have announced a VIP membership that includes a subscription to the publication for the first time. What I love and appreciate most about this publication is their ability to convey people and their businesses in creative ways. The layouts pull the eyes in the appropriate direction with catchy titles and text alignment/colors; the photography is artistic like that of a professional photographer who creates beautiful scenes for engagement or wedding photos. Needless to say, this is not a typical business magazine. Insight focuses on the inspirational and influential business leaders of our local community through creatively written pieces of those who have made an impact, rather than using technical language to just explain the business aspect of companies.

A "Neil Diamond" impersonator serenaded Linda Dums (freelance writer) and I at Insight's 5-year anniversary party.

A “Neil Diamond” impersonator serenaded Linda Dums (freelance writer) and I at Insight’s 5-year anniversary party. Photo courtesy of Nikki Kallio of Insight Publications.

Not only do I enjoy the aesthetics and content, but also the professionals running the business. I met most of them for the first time at this event, and they are a hoot (as some might say)! The Elvis Presley and Neil Diamond impersonators made for an entertaining evening, especially when “Neil Diamond” went around to some of the tables to serenade us ladies during “Sweet Caroline.” Brian got on stage for Karaoke for a Cause and rewrote the lyrics to the popular song “Jack and Diane” by John Cougar Mellencamp into a melody related to the magazine. When I was tagging alongside Nikki Kallio (Associate Editor), she introduced me to many new, successful faces. And those I met (both of the magazine or just friends of those of the magazine) were so kind and genuinely happy to meet me. Me, who is just one of the freelance writers. Everything that this magazine stands for has helped me to realize that I want to work for this company as long as I can.

Please consider subscribing to this wonderful magazine to continue supporting local businesses, especially one filled with such great people and ideas.

Here are few links to get you started:

Insight Publications Website

Insight’s Facebook page

The Douglas Adams Guide

douglas adams

Photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org.

Thanks to Google Doodle, I am reminded of yet another author’s birthday worth celebrating:

Douglas Adams.


hitchikers guide

Photo courtesy of www.american-buddha.com.

He died at age 49 from a heart attack but would have been 61 years old today. His most famous story was that of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” And as the Google Doodle article says, fans of the story don’t really know how to describe it so they respond with, “just read it!” I’ve had several friends say that to me when I asked them for book recommendations. When I worked at Half Price Books, I finally bought my own copies but still have not started it. Perhaps today is a good day to find myself hitchhiking into a humorous galaxy. I hope you will, too, if you haven’t already ventured.


Douglas Adams Google doodle

Photo courtesy of www.guardian.co.uk.

The Successful Path in the Valley

nature's pathways mag

Photo courtesy of Naturespathways.com.

What I love about my hometown is how much it is growing into a bustling city, drawing in more people toward positive, healthy changes. The Farmer Market, for example, is filled with more organic choices, diversity, educated people on the importance of health and wellbeing, appreciation for local arts, etc.

One resource I feel that helps my favorite city continue to grow is Nature’s Pathways Magazine. I’d seen it multiple times at the tutor building I work in downtown, but always passed by to get ready for my appointment with my student. Well, shame on my journalism instincts. I’ve been missing out, and I wouldn’t have realized this if it wasn’t for my boyfriend dropping one in my lap last night. He does that on occasion if he finds an article that he thinks I might be interested in reading. But this magazine in its entirety made him think of me and my own lifestyle changes over the last year.

This magazine’s inspirational mission makes for a wonderful addition to our community:

“Nature’s Pathways is a monthly magazine and online resource that provides accurate, relevant information on living a healthy lifestyle via nutrition, fitness, personal growth, wellness, relaxation, and organic and green living.”

The magazines downfalls are few, but one important thing to note is that it’s written by advertisers who may be experts in their field but only share one side of the story. A few of the messages I disagreed with had to do with diet. For example, one of the articles pulled from the Metro Creative Connection (which, for starters, is some sort of creative service) said that diet soda is a better choice than regular soda if your kids just won’t give it up. But diet soda is  more harmful. If it’s not real sugar they are using like in regular soda, then it’s some processed form of it they use in diet, making diet the obvious wrong choice. But what the article should have said is absolutely NO soda. Kids need more water in their lives. If the kids need to wean off the sugar, try using creative ways to flavor their water by using organic fruits and herbs.

While I found a few articles I disagreed with, majority of them were helpful and informative. So for those of us looking to become a positive  impact in our society by being healthy citizens and good role models for our youth, mental and physical health is the best place to start, and most of the magazine articles are worth your time. Especially in a toxic world like ours has become over the last few decades (e.g., The food industry looking to save a buck any way they can, government regulating our food pyramid, technology distracting youth from an active lifestyle, depression and obesity rates at an all time high, increased pressure on adults to work harder for longer and children to advance in education earlier, etc.)

Nature’s Pathways is a great tool for discovering your healthy side, whether that’s through physical, diet, mental, spiritual, hollistic, or “going green” approaches. Hippocrates had it right all the way back in the BC era when he said,

“Let food be thy medicine
and let thy medicine be thy food.”


Courtesy of Dreamstime.com.

Photo courtesy of Dreamstime.com.

As Americans and citizens of our communities, it is important we seek our best selves by being educated on what being healthy and natural really means in today’s world without being duped by media or government. The articles written in Nature’s Pathways are short, simple reminders of how easily we can return to where we once were as a human race: healthy and happy.

Nature’s Pathways is a reminder of what success really means. I encourage all of my family members, friends, acquaintances, and readers to pick up a copy of this magazine and choose the areas in which you’re lacking and get back on the healthy track; if not to live a healthier life, then to live a happier one.

Celebrating Local Writers

Black Coffee Fiction

Photo courtesy of www.amazon.com.

About a year ago,  I joined a local writing group thanks to my fiction professor, Nikki, who introduced me to two fabulous writers at the downtown Copper Rock. A combination of Nikki’s guidance in class and Wade and Colleen’s feedback at the writing group helped build the confidence I needed to send my first story. And for all of their help, I am very thankful!

Now I am happy to share that Wade’s story Daniel’s Keep has been published in this month’s Encounters magazine. He is a wonderful writer and deserves to finally celebrate all of his hard work!


Photo courtesy of www.blackmatrixpub.com

WadeColleen, and (a new addition) Bettyann write stories once a week for their blog Black Coffee Fiction. These weekly story deadlines help keep their writing mojo afloat. But more importantly, it has inspired Wade and Colleen to self-publish their best pieces, which can be purchased from Amazon.com. This includes Colleen’s “trashy” (her word, not mine!) romance novel, “Yesterday’s Secrets, Tomorrow’s Promises.”

Check out their sites, purchase a copy of their work to support local arts, and enjoy their stories over a black cup of joe!

The Side of Adam (and Eve) You Haven’t Heard


Photo courtesy of www.givergis.com.

Lucille Clifton has truly given Adam (yes, the one from the Bible that God created from dust and breath) a voice in her poem, “adam thinking,” from her collection of poetry called Blessing the Boats. I was never a fan of poetry until I took Pam Gemin’s Women in Literature class. She specialized in poetry at UW-Oshkosh and blew me away with the pieces she shared, such as the poem below in which I have dedicated this entry.

Pam taught her students more than just the messages behind the poems — the subtle clues between the lines — she also asked her students to study the poets’ background to enhance understanding of the words written. This is probably the reason I grew to appreciate poetry. She brought us into the troubled, tragic minds of Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath, but I will save their work for another day. For now, focus on Lucille’s brilliant poem through the eyes of Adam, or as Adam sees himself: adam. i. the unborn.

adam thinking

stolen from my bone
is it any wonder
i hunger to tunnel back
inside desperate
to reconnect the rib and clay
and to be whole again

some need is in me
struggling to roar through my
mouth into a name
this creation is so fierce
i would rather have been born

— Lucille Clifton

If you’re interested in more of her poetry, including the next poem “eve thinking,” pick up a copy of Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000 from your local library or bookstore. It’s worth it.


My lovely boyfriend loaned me SUPERFREAKONOMICS: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance in hopes that I would get a better understanding of the mindset of an economist when certain decisions are made (that really just piss me off). And I’m really glad he shared it with me! I did not give the book 5 stars because it has convinced me — even through all of its knowledgeable sources — that the authors may not be credible on every issue, but the beautiful thing about the book and why it deserved 4 stars is because of the authors’ ability to put as many options and examples in the pages as possible without going overboard. It brought me a new way of thinking. A form of thinking I should have gotten in college, but didn’t. I made a profound discovery while reading this story: I was narrow-minded in college.

Photo courtesy of www.npr.org.

Photo courtesy of www.npr.org.

Sounds odd, right? Usually,  you learn more about yourself and the rest of the world while attending college, but unfortunately for me, I couldn’t get myself to look beyond what was fed to me in class. For example, if I learned something in class that struck a chord of anger, disgust or frustration, I soaked it in without allowing myself to process the information or rationally decide on the best solution through my own analysis. I relied too much on the first answer I received from a professor or whomever was willing to give me any sort of peace of mind.

When I really think about it, journalism played a big role in that. Yes, I was supposed to be neutral with all my stories, and I was as much as possible, but when learning about a subject foreign to you, you rely on your research to get started, yes, but majority of what you learn comes from your sources. And if you’ re only interviewing a minimum of three “experts” on any given subject, your article still lacks all possibilities.

It didn’t help that journalism students had to take a little bit of everything for good measure. I understood and respected that for the sake of becoming a well-rounded person, but I hated and turned my mind off in classes like philosophy and microeconomics because it made it difficult to stick with my own, poorly created ideas about the world. It was almost like a barrier keeping my brain from exploring more possibilities. Plus, I just hated the subject and held no interest for it at the time.

And I’m not just talking political ideas. So, I’m not saying I shouldn’t have leaned so far toward the left or right, but that I should have come to terms with both sides and made my own educated decision. I had convinced myself that I was moderate, but I wasn’t. Moderate doesn’t necessarily mean that you agree with Republicans here and Democrats there. My decisions should not have been made off of those thoughts at all. I leaned one way or the other depending on the subject and focused more on which way I was leaning than which path was appropriate to find critical answers or at least a rocky, personal research path to follow.

But politics aside, I realized my own short comings towards the end of the book when global warming was discussed. I knew most of the facts from an “Ecosphere in Crisis” class that I took in college, but the solutions that some of the scientists were coming up with were plausible but outrageous and I’d never heard about them before — even in that class. I instantly thought about how I would have taken this information in college. Most likely, I would have taken all of the ideas, picked the main argument, and said:

“This is the best solution to fight global warming. All others are wrong.”

But what my brain says now is: “That is absolutely insane. What happens if this happens? Then what will they do? This solution can’t be reversed if something goes awry. And while I understand that global warming may not be entirely affected by this, I still believe that it should not be ignored and all culprits should be examined.”

And most importantly, I was thinking: “What other options are there? Is there a greener, more realistic, less drastic option? If so, what is it and what are the consequences?”

Why has it taken me so long to get here? To use my brain in this way? It is almost as if I was too immature for certain college courses.

Next round (graduate school, god willing ), I hope to use my brain to the best of its ability; and, yes, there will be a next time because I have my heart set on it. I want to ask the right questions and consider all of the answers this time. And maybe there isn’t going to be a true answer to any of my questions, but at least I will be able to accept/recognize that and not stick to the first answer that comes my way even if it is incorrectly being executed. More research is always to be done.

It’s amazing how much one can learn of oneself from a single book. Ah, the beauty of reading.