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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. 

Book Review: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Rachel Saylor

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Little Fires Everywhere inserts us into a progressive community structured around rigid rules and regulations in the 90’s called Shaker Heights. The community located in Cleveland is real, and author, Celeste Ng, actually grew up there. A mother-daughter combo Mia and Pearl land in Shaker to stay put after over a decade of vagabonding around the U.S. Their unconventional lifestyle both intrigues the young, impressionable teens of the Richardson family, while ruffling the feathers of the Richardson’s mom. 

Ng pushes you to think about the roots and beliefs in which you grew up and if you hold onto those ideals because you believe it to be the right way to live or merely because it’s what you were taught. She uncovers all of the different facets of what it means and feels like to become a mother. The characters struggle with constant judgement, revealing there is no black and white way about motherhood nor the decisions we make, but rather, a lot of grey space. The way a woman enters motherhood through surrogacy, adoption, or giving natural birth and then the decisions that mothers make as to how they will raise their children are all topics explored throughout Little Fires Everywhere. 

Ng brilliantly depicts what it is like to be human. She shows that no person is the perfect protagonist, making all of the right decisions, but rather everyone lives somewhere in the grey area. Some decisions made are questionable, others less so, but we as humans have to make decisions, we just have to carry them with us after we do so. Sometimes, our decisions lead to little fires that can cause harm, but then there can sprout some of the most beautiful growth from that. Ng asks: what will you do about your situation that you find yourself in now?