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Book Review: Call Me By Your Name

Rachel Saylor

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When a love story pulls at your heart and makes you root for the two lovers to end up together, happily living their days as one, it is something to hold onto and cherish. When a story can enrapture you and procure emotions such as sorrow, anger, and ecstasy, it is a story that should be talked about and shared. 

Call Me By Your Name is a story about discovering your first love and the sorrow and joy that accompanies it. It’s about feeling vulnerable when first exploring sex while you are still awkward and unsure of your footing, yet eager and ecstatic to have such a strong connection with someone. It also shows the beauty in having a deep, intimate connection with your parents. How a relationship with them in which you can discuss vast topics and feel free to be open and honest with them brings about the possibility of loving acceptance without conditions. It will make you want to kiss your mom and dad on the cheek or pull them into a hug more often with passion, sending vibrations of your love for them through your touch. 

The story takes place in 1983, so when a romantic relationship with two guys is etched with the discomfort of being taboo, you as the reader are not that surprised. However, comparing that to today’s standards, can we truly say we have come that much farther even 35 years later? Don’t some people still push themselves to fight their natural urges and desires or hide part of what makes them them because they fear being thrown as an outcast in their family, or from their communities or just because it doesn't fall into the majority? The way the parents, even back in 1983, were so accepting of their son with whom he chose to love was so beautiful and makes my heart ache for parent-child relationships that suffer because there isn’t this same open acceptance and love. 

I look forward to engaging in stories, such as Call Me By Your Name, that send tears streaming down my cheeks and that leaves a lasting impression on my heart. Stories that represent marginalized groups that have been largely ostracized by so many throughout history. Stories that I get lost in and feel apart of. Stories that evoke such strong emotions that it moves people to change their mindsets to be a more understanding, loving individual. It’s what I hope to do for my readers as a writer. 

*Side note about the film adaptation: 

The chemistry between the two actors, Timothée and Armie is electric and reels you into their romance. Coupled with the long shots of Northern Italy’s landscape and the characters basking in the slow paced summer sun, it’s a film that makes you feel as if you are taking part of the entire summer spent in Italy, living in a villa, surrounded by fruit trees, on the outskirts of a sleepy Italian town just a pleasant bike ride away. 

Both the book and the film are the sorts to be read and watched many times over. 

A Magical Pop-up Shop

Rachel Saylor

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There's a writer's group I like to go to every other week at the public library. We're given prompts and allotted 15 minutes to write before we read our pieces aloud to each other. At the end of our two-hour session this last week, we were given the prompt: Write about a magical shop that pops up. I was embarrassed to read this one out loud to the group, especially with a couple of men writers present. 

~

Throughout my life, I have been fortunate. At least ever since I reached puberty and in the sense that I never have to fear being out and about when it starts. You know, ladies, that time of the month when emotions turn high, every piece of chocolate needs to be devoured in sight, and Midol is carried in every bag you own. 

The worst part about this time of the month is when it starts and you aren’t armed with all of your tampons and pads. You’re at the movies and when you’re going to get the popcorn refilled you realize it has started. You hurry back into the theatre to see if one of your girlfriends can help you out, but their hands come up empty from their purses as you expectantly watch. This exact thing happened to me my first time, in a movie theatre, no less. 

I walked back out of the theatre, terrified of the repercussions of not finding supplies, hoping I could find someone in the bathroom who could help me out. There is a certain camaraderie women have when it comes to needing supplies in a dire situation. It’s really a great way to make new friends. 

However, when I walked into the bathroom, not a soul was in there. There were no dispensaries on the wall, not that I had any quarters to put in even if there was. At the end of the stalls, a neon light lit up. It read, “Ladies Best Friend,” all in pink. I pushed open the cracked door, to find a well lit, fully stocked store of every tampon, pad and liner a girl could ask for. At the back of the store a woman with bleach blonde hair that twisted around on the top of her head like a beehive, stood behind the counter with a beaming smile. 

“Oh, Welcome to Ladies Best Friend! You must be new - I’ve never seen you before. Name?”

“Uh, Kaitlin Willard,” I stammer.  

“Well, welcome, Kaitlin.”

~

I for one wish a magical shop like this would pop up when I needed it. If you could choose, what kind of shop would you have magically appear? 
 






 

2017: A Reflection, 2018: Here I come

Rachel Saylor

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This year, my husband and I declared it as, "The year of adventure!" I quit my job. We moved out of Boone, NC, which I called home for almost 8 years. We downsized and headed to London for three months. While there, we traveled to the Netherlands, Romania, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Scottland, Ireland, Saint Ives, and explored my favorite city of all time: London. If we could have figured out the complex visa situation, we would have loved to call London home, but as it was too tricky, we looked towards the next best thing. 

Portland, Oregon was on the horizon. We spent two months getting things in order, bouncing from one family's home to another. We lived out of our car, continuously unpacking and packing our things from one place to the next. Finally, in August, we packed everything we owned into our car and started the trek out west. What we imagined to be a short stay in Tempe, Arizona, quickly turned into a few months. 

Arizona is not a place I ever envisioned for myself to live, but it has been an absolute pleasant surprise. Since here, I've met an array of authors and fellow writers. I've connected like I never have before with people who share the same passion as me. I've learned more in the past five months about the industry than I have in the time I've been a writer leading up to this point. I'm so grateful for what Arizona has gifted me in this. We plan to stay here at least until the summer, but we aren't putting a cap on our time here either. Portland is still calling our name, but right now, I am embracing the magic of the desert life. Sure, I've only seen rain once since I've moved here, but I'm soaking in the sun while I have the opportunity. 

I wrote my second novel in 2017 (Title still to be decided), and I am so excited to share it with the world! I have beta readers reading it and making notes as I take a step back from the novel for now. Here's a little tease of what my new realistic young adult novel is about:

Mercer is an artsy, athletic, family oriented senior in high school who is hoping to make it to the end of the year and off to college in one piece. Something at her core tugs hard and she wonders what makes her different from so many others. She battles with accepting herself as she is and hopes desperately that her family can do the same.

Through love and friendship, Mercer takes on her last year of high school with her best friends, Camille: the feisty, outspoken beauty, Jed: the mature, intelligent, cool guy, Lainey: the perfect, hard-working, driven blonde, and Eli: the zesty, flamboyant Korean-American flaky friend, who all face their own troubles of relationships and the daunting task of figuring out what’s next.

I'm going to continue working on my first novel, Jasper's Mountain, with my editor. My goal is to have it printed and formatted into an ebook by the end of this year so that you can finally read the finished product. 

2018 is looking bright, and I'm ready to take my writing career to the next level. I hope you're pumped about this year too! Cheers to working hard and enjoying every minute of it.