Girls Who Read


I found this video maybe a year ago, probably from something someone posted on Facebook.  I honestly don’t remember.  All I know is I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it because I felt like it was written for me!  I can’t believe this is the first time I’ve shared it on this blog.  The video shows the British poet Mark Grist reciting this poem with the story it tells portrayed in the background, so to speak.  In a world where women are praised, admired, & renowned for physical beauty above all else, it’s so refreshing to be reminded that our brains are beautiful too.  Mr. Grist, you’re a genius.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmEbF2uhsZk

mark grist

Here is the poem itself.

So, what do you go for in a girl?”
He crows, lifting a lager to his lips
Gestures where his mate sits
Downs his glass
“He prefers tits
I prefer ass.
What do you go for in a girl?”

I don’t feel comfortable
The air left the room a long time ago
All eyes are on me
Well, if you must know

I want a girl who reads
Yeah. Reads.
I’m not trying to call you a chauvinist
‘Cause I know you’re not alone in this
but…

I want a girl who reads
Who needs the written word
And uses the added vocabulary
She gleans from novels & poetry
To hold lively conversation
In a range of social situations

I want a girl who reads
Whose heart bleeds at the words of Graham Greene
Or even Heat magazine
Who’ll tie back her hair while reading Jane Eyre
And goes cover to cover with each waterstones three-for two offer
but I want a girl who doesn’t stop there

I want a girl who reads
Who feeds her addiction for fiction
With unusual poems & plays
That she hunts out in crooked bookshops for days & days & days
She’ll sit addicted at breakfast, soaking up the back of the cornflakes box
And the information she gets from what she reads makes her a total fox
‘Cause she’s interesting & unique
And her theories make me go weak at the knees

I want a girl who reads

A girl whose eyes will analyse
The menu over dinner
Who’ll use what she learns to kick my ass in arguments
So she always ends the winner
But she’ll still be sweet & she’ll still be flirty
‘Cause she loves the classics & the classics are dirty
So late at night she’d always have me in a stupor
As she paraphrases the raunchier moments from the works of Jilly Cooper

See, some guys prefer asses
Some prefer tits
And I’m not saying that I don’t like those bits
But what’s more important
What supersedes
Is a girl a with passion, wit, & dreams
So I’d like a girl who reads

pride & prejudice book

I’m so glad my mom instilled in me a passion for reading at a very young age.  Some of my fondest memories of childhood are of browsing used bookstores with her.  To this day I find something magical about searching for & reading used books.  Buying a brand new book just doesn’t hold the same thrill as buying an older book that I know someone else has read before me.  I truly believe that both men & women who read on a regular basis are indeed more interesting, & thus sexier.  I believe there’s a quote out there that goes something like this & it could not be more true for me: A lifetime is not long enough to devour all the books I want to read.

Barefoot in the Grass


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the value of simply enjoying life as it comes.  I spent this weekend in Virginia visiting my family & college roommate.  While sitting on top of a mountain yesterday with my friend, we discussed how important it is to relish the simple pleasures in life & how careers should never be the focus or center of anyone’s life, no matter how wonderful that career might be.  My therapist helped me to understand this concept a couple of months ago & I keep coming back to it for one reason or another.  I’ve found that my therapist was so right when she said that achieving greater balance in life between career, family, friends, hobbies, etc actually leads to finding greater satisfaction in all of those things.  As a life-long perfectionist, sometimes such concepts are difficult to grasp but I am slowly learning to do so.  I actually wrote a whole post recently about the importance of having fun without guilt & making time to just soak up all the amazing experiences life has to offer (see https://athicketofmusingsblog.com/2014/05/16/the-pain-of-regret/).

When I have kids I plan to teach them to have goals & to chase their dreams in life, to work hard & hone skills such as music or dance.  But I also plan to teach them to understand the simple pleasures of life, such as walking barefoot in the grass, because without those things, nothing else really means anything.

While the movie was grossly historically inaccurate, I still love the song Colors of the Wind from Pocahontas, most especially the last three lines: You can own the earth and still/All you own is earth until/You can paint with all the colors of the wind.  That’s what I’m trying to express here.

All of this thinking led me to remember a poem I wrote almost 4 years ago.  I composed it almost entirely in my head while visiting my grandmother’s grave at the cemetery in my hometown.  As I told a cousin of mine this weekend, I can never write poetry intentionally.  Or at least if I do it’s not any good.  The only good poetry (in my opinion) I’ve ever written has been stuff that’s just “come to me,” like this one did.  Anyway, I hope it speaks to you in some way today, & I hope you’ll never forget the importance of knowing how it feels to walk barefoot in the grass.  It truly is one of the best feelings in the world.  Cheers!

015

 

My feet slipped in the mud and wet grass

Frustrated, I removed my shoes and walked around barefoot

The feeling of the cool, wet grass under my feet

And then the warm black pavement

With cracks like rivers running through it

The sting of the hard pebbles as they cut into the soles of my feet

The sound of birds chirping, dogs barking, and rain falling

All served to transport my troubled mind

To a place of such pristine serenity

 

I spend my life busy, busy, busy

Always going, going, going

But in this short trip to the cemetery

Nature once again through her gentle beauty

Whispered words of wisdom in my ear

Slow down, rest, relax, rejuvenate

Everything in life need not be purposeful, useful, or planned

Sometimes it is enough simply to exist

To experience the pleasure of walking barefoot in the grass

And to know that such simple pleasures

Are the very essence of our existence

The Inspiration Behind the Blog


I’ve been meaning to share this for a while & honestly just keep forgetting. I figured some of you might like to know the inspiration behind the title of this blog. If you’ve read the “About” page you know it’s from a poem I wrote a while ago but I’ve never shared the poem on here. I wrote the poem about 3:00 am one night last year when I couldn’t sleep because my mind was just wandering & doing its usual bit of simply THINKING too darn much. I wanted desperately to write about how I was feeling but the words just wouldn’t come. So I wrote a poem about not being able to write . . . and it worked! I don’t always get that lucky but I remember feeling so relieved after writing this poem because it restored my faith in myself as a writer & in general my faith that life, though difficult at times, is well worth the struggle.

writing

I’ve written quite a few poems in my life & plan to share more of them on here in the future. I must say this one is one of my favorites because it really was a moment of catharsis for me when I wrote it, I suppose because to me it so perfectly describes how my mind feels so much of the time: lost in a thicket of musings, or in other words pondering entirely too many ideas at once so that it’s difficult for me to ever truly relax. And quite often when I try to verbalize all of these “musings,” whether in spoken conversation or in writing, I’m suddenly left quite speechless & unable to describe them at all. I also love that I was able to touch on several other important themes in my life including the desire to be a writer above all else, the desire to change or leave some important mark on the world, & the feeling that maybe I am really a bit crazy after all.

I started this blog mostly as a way for me to “vent” all of my ideas & feelings about life & in doing so to hopefully reduce my own stress & anxiety levels while also perhaps inspiring or encouraging others to do the same or to ponder the same questions I have about life. That is why I thought the title A Thicket of Musings was so fitting for this blog. To a certain extent I think my mind will always be caught in a thicket of musings because it’s just a part of my very nature to think, think, think about everything all the time. But I find that in writing I feel less lost in this proverbial thicket of musings & more capable of enjoying the process. Some days I feel certain I’d trade just about anything to just not THINK so much about everything but in my heart I know I belong in a thicket of musings & I really wouldn’t have it any other way.

What about you? Do you ever feel like you just can’t stop thinking about things? Like there are so many ideas swarming around in your head but you can’t actually pin down any of them? Do you ever wonder if you’re the only person to ponder certain things (even though logically you know with six billion or more people in the world that’s nigh impossible)? If so, join me in A Thicket of Musings today & let me know your strategies for dealing with these thoughts.

Ok, enough talk about it.  Here’s the poem:

I used to be able to write poems

Nothing great or fancy

Just short little ditties

That somehow healed the wounds in my soul

Which life inevitably brings

But now words never seem to come to me

I’m lost in a thicket of musings

That I can never quite define

If could be anything in the world

I’d be a writer

When I was in fifth grade that’s all I wanted

I wrote about it in my autobiography that year

But all the great ideas that are in my head

Never seem to make it onto paper

(Or since this is the digital age

Perhaps I should say the computer screen)

It’s 3:00 a.m. and I can’t sleep

My body is exhausted but my mind is wide awake

When I was a child I thought I’d be a failure in life

If I didn’t somehow become famous someday

But now I don’t envy celebrities of anything

I think their lives are mostly miserable

Nonetheless I won’t be satisfied

If I don’t leave a mark on this world somehow

Is it normal to wonder about such things at 3:00 a.m.?

Or even at all?

Or am I just as strange and crazy as I’ve always feared?

Ah, you see what I just did there?

I wrote a poem about not being able to write a poem

Maybe there is still hope after all

Good night . . .

Or is it good morning?