Topping the Top Ten (Part 3: Merry Edition)

I’ve noticed that most Facebook list memes all seem kind of the same: top ten books, top ten movies, top ten interesting facts, top ten etcetera.  I started wondering: what if we made Facebook list memes a little more interesting?  Which led me, of course, to this list — and it’s holiday-themed, as a bonus.

Top Ten Facebook List Memes I’d Like To See

1. Top Ten Life-Choices Questioned By Relatives During Christmas Dinner (In Ascending Order from Those Shoes to Veganism)

2. Top Ten Most Transcendent Experiences Involving Cake Batter, Raw Cookie Dough, Or Icing on Mix-Master Beaters

3. Top Ten Actors Whose Names Your Mother Can’t Remember Even Though She Knows They Were on That Show with the Blonde Girl Who Sings So Well But Went Through That Weird Phase with the Nose Ring and Such

4. Top Ten Things You Really Wish You Could Pretend You Didn’t Know That Your Mother Actually Knows About Once You Find Her Secret Copy of 50 Shades of Gray

5. Ten Uncomfortable Conversations Beginning With The Phrase “So, I Hear You’re Into ______________ These Days.”

6. Top Ten Most Awkward and Overly Revealing Combinations of Items in Your Grocery Shopping Cart At Like the Only Place Anyone Seems to Shop for Groceries in Your Home Town for Chrissakes

7. Top Ten Most Awkward Grocery Store Interactions That Occurred When You Had an Awkward and Overly Revealing Combination of Items in Your Grocery Shopping Cart At Like the Only Place Anyone Seems to Shop for Groceries in Your Home Town for Chrissakes

8. Top Ten Facebook-Newsfeed-Inspired Mental Breakdowns

9. Top Ten Beverages (Adult Or Non-Adult) Consumed at a Christmas Family Gathering Before You’re Just Going to Stand Over Here, All Right, You’re Just Going Over Here Or Oh, To the Kiddie Table, If Everyone Is Going to Treat You Like a Kid You Might As Well Sit Over Here At the Stupid Kiddie Table.

10. Ten Nicknames You Forgot About That Have the Power to Make You Hulk Out

And, from Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, and me, happy holidays to all of you and all of your yours!


Topping the Top Ten (Part 2)

So, a little while ago, I got tagged on a top-ten-books-ever meme.  The instructions were very simple – name the top ten books that have stuck with you, in any order, without thinking about it too long – which means that I was completely incapable of following the instructions.  Instead, I wondered what kind of books – collections of poetry or astronomy textbooks or Our Bodies Ourselves or books that came with finger puppets?  I wondered a while about the phrase “stuck with you” – like, in an I-Remember-Important-Quotes-Down-To-The-Punctuation Way or a This-Overall-Changed-Like-All-My-Life Way or an I-Hate-This-So-Much-I-Threw-It-Against-The-Wall-And-A-Mark-Stayed-There Way, or even a Like-Oatmeal-Sticks-To-Your-Ribs Way?  And why do we say that oatmeal sticks to our ribs in the first place?  Doesn’t oatmeal go into your stomach?  Is oatmeal constructed in such a way as to somehow leak out of your stomach, locate your ribs through some kind of terrifying internal GPS systems, and stick there?  Is my ribcage, at this point, constructed mostly of rolled oats, stuck to my ribs and sort of waving around, like vitamin-rich deep-sea coral?*

Things got complicated.

So I’ve decided to break this up into three categories – poetry, fiction, and nonfiction – and then do the not-thinking part within each of the categories.  And I’m going to do that very quickly, so I don’t start thinking I need to break into sub-categories (hybrid work!  sonnet sequences!  featuring zoo animals as main characters!).


  1. Glass, Irony, and God by Anne Carson
  2. Bad Boats by Laura Jensen
  3. Green Notebook, Winter Road by Jane Cooper
  4. Sad Little Breathing Machine by Matthea Harvey
  5. Ariel by Sylvia Plath (I mean, obvs)
  6. Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions by Maurice Manning
  7. What the Living Do by Marie Howe
  8. The Red Bird by Joyelle McSweeney
  9. Forth a Raven by Christina Davis
  10. V.WaveSon.Nets by Stephanie Strickland


  1. The Boys of My Youth by Jo Ann Beard
  2. The Body: An Essay by Jenny Boully
  3. One Day I Will Write About This Place by Binyavanga Wainaina
  4. On Looking by Lia Purpura
  5. An Elemental Thing by Eliot Weinberger
  6. The Narrow Road to the Interior by Kimiko Hahn
  7. The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon
  8. The Interior Castle by Teresa of Ávila
  9. The Pharmacist’s Mate by Amy Fusselman
  10. The Nearly Born Woman by Hélène Cixous and Catherine Clément


  1. Self-Help by Lorrie Moore
  2. Do The Windows Open? by Julie Hecht
  3. Boys and Girls Like You and Me by Aryn Kyle
  4. Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson
  5. A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver by E.L. Konigsburg
  6. The Hunger Games triology (natch)
  7. No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July
  8. Oh! by Mary Robison
  9. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
  10. Life Before Man by Margaret Atwood

* In case you are wondering, yes, this is kind of how everything happens inside of my head and also why I can go to the store for bread and come out with pudding cups and an African violet.

Topping the Top Ten (Part One)

So, I keep getting tagged to do these top-ten things on The Book of Face, and I haven’t gotten to any of them yet.  That’s because this semester has been a vortex of insanity and I haven’t gotten to a lot of things yet, including removing the polish I put on my toe nails this summer and purchasing actual groceries.  Now that the semester is over and all of its accessories (third-year review materials, grades, manuscripts, FLEX receipts, book orders, vet visits, stationary purchases, bill payments, tiny Post-Its with even tinier To Do lists) have found their homes, I can finally return to the rest of my life and to very important things, like taking photographs of my cats and figuring out why everyone is so very mad at everyone else on The Real Housewives of Atlanta.*  And, of course, Facebook memes.

I was going to post these on Facebook, but then remembered that the statute of limitations has pretty much run out on them.  Also, I remembered that I have this blog, mostly because one of the tiny Post-Its’ tinier To Do list featured these two items:



Top Ten Random Things About Myself

This very terrifying illustration of very sad children is the best possible preface for this list.

This very terrifying illustration of very sad children is the best possible preface for this list.

  1. When I was very little, I wanted to be an astronomer.  But not an astronaut, since that would involve actually going into space and space seemed really creepy.
  2. I somehow got my hands on a grown-up astronomy book when I was very little, and said book totally confirmed that space is really creepy.  Said book also introduced me to the concept of a black hole.  This was so not a positive moment in my childhood development.
  3. The thing that made the above-mentioned moment so not positive is that I somehow came to the conclusion that black holes could be anywhere.  I mean, anywhere.  I mean, like, in the very hallway of my very home anywhere.
  4. Once I came to this conclusion, I came to the next obvious and logical conclusion, which really just seemed like an actual fact, it was so obvious and logical: THERE WERE VERY CLEARLY BLACK HOLES IN THE VERY HALLWAY OF MY VERY HOME.
  5. I spent the next month or so running down the hallway at top speed EverySingleTime, because apparently this was the most obvious and logical way to escape black holes.
  6. I also had this book of Grimm’s fairy tales that were, like, the actual fairy tales, meaning the versions in which people are maimed and broken and bleeding or, worse, the victims of bizarre psychological torture.  I was both too terrified to read it and compelled to constantly read it, over and over, as if one of the witches in the illustrations had cast upon me some really messed up spell.  The illustrations in this book all looked like this:

    WHAT ARE YOU THINKING ILLUSTRATOR AND PUBLISHER? How is this appropriate for anyone, much less a child?

    WHAT ARE YOU THINKING ILLUSTRATOR AND PUBLISHER? How is this appropriate for anyone, much less a child?

  7. I soon realized it was totally possible for me to be under the influence of some really messed up spell because it also occurred to me that if evil strangers could come for your firstborn and birds could peck out your eyes, there was no reason to doubt that
    1.  the witch in the book was obviously real
    2.  the witch in the book, who was now obviously real, had the power to cast some really messed up spells, and
    3. the witch in the book was now obviously real and obviously, at any and every moment, prepared to cast some really messed up real spells.
  8. The same logic that led me to realize there were very clearly black holes in the very hallway of my very home also led me to realize that the witch was outside of my very home, waiting.  Specifically, she was outside of the window to my very bedroom in my very home.  Waiting.  With very bad intentions.
  9. The same logic that led me to realize that I could escape the black holes by running down the hallway at top speed EverySingleTime also led me to realize that I could escape the witch by never, ever sleeping in a position that faced the window, EverySingleNight.  And if I turned during the night to face the window and woke up that way, it was basically like every scene in Apocalypse Now, where it’s very creepily clear that something really terrible is about to happen, and even if it doesn’t happen, the panic is enough.  And I knew exactly what my personal Kurtz looked like:

    photo 4

    I mean SERIOUSLY. Seriously? SERIOUSLY.

  10. I still can’t fall asleep if I’m facing a window.

* That last thing isn’t really so much a thing, as I already know the reason why everyone is so very mad at everyone else on all regional varieties of The Real Housewives, and that reason is: no.  As in, there is no reason.  So the last thing is more like a Zen koan, like an unanswerable question meant to occupy the mind while the body rests and meditates.