BOOK REVIEW: Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

★★★★★ / 5

Given that I’ve been moving at a glacial pace with my book reviews lately, I figured it would be a while before I ever got to ASK AGAIN, YES. But then again, the books on my TBR pile tend to get waylaid for whatever is the newest and buzziest, which wound up being exactly what happened here. (This, of course, doesn’t mean I’m ever on time with my reviews.) Like everyone else over on bookstagram, this title from Mary Beth Keane and Scribner has been all over my feed, and somehow despite this, I didn’t really know what I was getting into when I decided on a whim to pick it up. Of three things I was sure: 1) this title had a beautiful package, 2) the people I follow were speeding through it, and 3) it was loved and enjoyed across the board. Sure, it’s a gorgeous book, and not only has this been the quickest read of 2019 (it took me one evening), but it’s also joined my handful of five star reads for the year. I’d even hazard to say this earned its spot as my favorite book of 2019 so far.

Lena and Francis Gleeson move to the suburbs of New York City after they are freshly married, followed soon after by another young couple, the Stanhopes. Brian Stanhope and Francis Gleeson are colleagues as rookie cops on the NYPD, but the proximity of their professional and personal lives isn’t enough to stop the heartbreaking chain of events that changes the trajectory of their futures. Anne Stanhope never lets their son Peter become too friendly with the Gleeson kids next door, which doesn’t stop Peter from growing up with a love for the Gleeson’s youngest daughter, Kate. Anne’s dislike for Kate has less to do with the girl herself and more with Anne’s instability. It is the consequences of her instability that entwine Peter and Kate for years to come–a love story that is defined by, and defies, the immeasurable pain of their families’ history.

Here is your warning: there are spoilers ahead!

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Creative Recovery & The Artist’s Way: Week 2

Week 2 of Cameron’s The Artist’s Way aims to help struggling participants recover a sense of identity. Week 1’s theme, which focused on recovering a sense of safety, was much more apparent to me in Cameron’s predetermined exercises. (If you haven’t read last week’s blog, I recommend it if you want to follow along!) Upon first thought, I’m not certain I’ve recovered much of my identity as a writer after Week 2, but I also recognize that this is probably the biggest hurdle in my creative recovery. My identity as a writer is absolutely fragile–especially because I’m the type of person whose self-worth is depends on success in my professional life. Given that my professional life includes my writing, things tend to feel pretty impossible when I can’t motivate myself to write. Thus, the vicious cycle continues.

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Creative Recovery & The Artist’s Way: Week 1

Suffice to say, I’ve been in a rut lately. By lately, I mean two years

My ability to write was the first thing to go, though the desire is always there. I forced myself to finish a thesis with energy I didn’t have and in May 2017, I graduated from The New School’s Creative Writing program. I had an MFA, a partial novel I hated, and plans to dig myself out–to write after graduation, finish my book, and stay in America. Fast forward to October 2018 and I’ve yet to accomplish any of those things. For now, I’m still in New York, but the path to a visa is slow, expensive, and not a guarantee. To add insult to injury, while I await the processing of my permanent residency, I’m unable to work–something I’ve done since I was sixteen and waitressing at a fried chicken restaurant. Unemployment, while I had plans to utilize this time to write, has me questioning my self-worth every day. I’m faltering without a routine, a schedule, with the responsibility of my passions entirely up to me.  I had such grand plans, but as time passes, I find myself further and further away from finishing what I started.

Enter The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

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