All posts by eclecticalli

I am finding my way on the meandering, twisting path of life, constantly surprised by what’s around the next bend. Working to embrace and face the challenges inherent with following your dreams, and writing the journey. A writer and dreamer, historian and theologian, academic and fantasy-world-creator, genealogist and gluten-free baker, crafter and reader, poet and life-long learner, constantly questioning and occasionally irreverent. Eclectic Alli is my personal blog, with reflections on writing, life, theology, history, or whatever may catch my thoughts. Disparate Threads is a fantasy-fiction serial-blog, I am trying to break out of the traditional book-format mold of storytelling, taking advantage of the blog format to build a world. Everything on Disparate Threads is considered "Draft," and I WANT reader responses and input! Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and Instagram round out my online presence, and I try to do little bits different with each of them.

#WeekendCoffeeShare : Time for a rest

Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!
Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about?
All are welcome! Just add your link to the Linky-List, and be sure to visit others and join in their conversations! The link will be open from Friday October 5th at 7am (Pacific Time) until Monday October 8th at 7pm (Pacific Time) to give us a good range of “weekend”!

If you are unable to post your site into the link-up for any reason feel free to drop it into the comments and I will do my best to add you to the linkup!

Welcome to coffee!
How are you doing this week? What have you been up to? Is the season starting to change where you are? I think most of you are in the shift to fall, but maybe a few are moving to spring…. I’ve always been kind of intrigued by the difference in the seasons in different geographic locations. Like, the idea of it being summer for Christmas is just baffling!
This week has been okay, we’re doing some training at work which has been a nice change of pace for me. Outside of work, though, I haven’t been up to a whole lot. I have to admit, much of my down-time has been sunk into playing silly games on my phone (I may have gotten into Township a bit… it reminds me a little of the things I used to love about old-school Sim City).
Last Friday I had my Friday Food Fun Night with a little crew of my friends (the same ones I went camping with this summer), we ended up hitting up just three different restaurants, all walking distance downtown. I didn’t actually get mole  at any of them, I left that to the friends who are in search of the flavor they really like. Instead I tried a little variety of things. The first place I arrived at a bit before everyone else, so ordered a frozen margarita, some queso (to enjoy while I waited) and a quesadilla. Because I can’t eat wheat, and most places make their quesadillas out of flour tortillas (corn is kinda hard to work with when you’re dealing with a larger size), I haven’t had a quesadilla I didn’t have to make myself in ages – it was very exciting. Next we stopped at an Italian place, where we got some yummy desserts, then on to another Mexican place where I got some fundito!
That’s been largely the highlight of my week -this coming weekend I’m hoping to just rest up. And it’s coming on to time to rest, so I’m going to leave this here…. What are you up to?


Insecure Writer’s Support Group: Life Events

wp-1462383471325.jpgThis is my monthly post as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a great group of supportive writers, helping one another through our writing ups-and-downs.

There is also a great Facebook Community for more daily connection!  More posts from the group are tagged on Twitter at #IWSG, and be sure to check out the Twitter account and the new Instagram as well!

IWSG Day Question: How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

I really appreciate this month’s question, it causes me to do some reflection on my writing in the past and some of those things that have been getting in the way of my writing in the present.

When I look back at when I started writing my stories down (because I let them play through my mind for many years before I started to put them on the page) I can easily identify how it was actually in reaction to something that was going on in my life. It was right near the start of High School. We had two sets of cousins visiting us, and I wasn’t really connecting with any of them very well. But my younger sister was.  She was having fun learning the Macarena from them, hanging out at the mall, and generally doing all sorts of things that I thought were silly and wasn’t particularly into at the time.

It was the first time I can remember when my sister and I didn’t get along. It wasn’t that we weren’t getting along, really, just that I didn’t feel like I had anything in common with her. Being the only two girls in a family with five children we’d always been “in it together.”

I’d had a built in friend my whole life, and suddenly I felt like I didn’t have anyone. So I turned to the stories. I wrote myself into worlds of my own creation as a method of escape. And it certainly wasn’t the last time in my life that writing helped me through something. Sometimes the stories would take a form of glorified journaling – a little escapism in moments when I was needing to sort things out. Sometimes they would be completely unrelated themes, but a way for me to find a space of calm in chaos.

But life events aren’t always so helpful in my writing. Sometimes they serve to pull me away from my writing. Lately I feel like that’s the state I’ve been in – I’ve let things that are happening in my life serve as excuses to not write. As can be seen if you read through my past year or so of IWSG posts, I keep setting these goals to write, and then setting more of them. Since I finished my novel-draft a few years ago I haven’t been terribly productive with my writing. There are a variety of reasons behind this, that I’m slowly picking apart and making sense of (or at least figuring out how to work with). Hopefully I’m actually making progress and will start seeing more writing again soon… at the very least I plan to participate in National Novel Writing Month again this year, and that generally helps me get some story-work done; even if I don’t end up doing anything with that work, my goal right now is to just get writing again — I don’t care if it’s something that will ever see the light of day. I just need to start getting stories flowing again. 

#WeekendCoffeeShare: Wait… Friday?

Join us for some coffee time!Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!
Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about?
All are welcome! Just add your link to the Linky-List, and be sure to visit others and join in their conversations! The link will be open from Friday September 28th at 7am (Pacific Time) until Monday October 1st at 7pm (Pacific Time) to give us a good range of “weekend”!

If you are unable to post your site into the link-up for any reason feel free to drop it into the comments and I will do my best to add you to the linkup!

Where did this week go? Seriously. Is it hiding somewhere? I mean, I know I need to clean my room but I don’t think an entire WEEK could actually hide in it….

For a blur of a week, not a whole lot has happened on a personal level. I’ve been trying to keep up with Banned Book’s Week posts (and here, and now, I once again resolve to be far more ahead of the game for next Banned Book’s Week. They release the list in April, I should be able to get a few decent blog posts done between then and September. I really should).

This weekend I’m going to do a lot of laying low, more cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry… But first, Friday night.

Friday night a crew of friends and I are continuing our Friday Food Fun Night adventures. Sometimes we go out, sometimes we stay in (and conduct food experiments, in the name of SCIENCE!) This week we are going out – one of my friends loves mole, and hasn’t been able to find a good place locally. So we’re going to try remedying that for her by exploring some local mole places.

I am realizing that I haven’t actually had much mole – I tried a little of hers once when we were out but that’s it, so I’m going to be trying some and deciding if I’ll participate in the mole-adventure or if I’ll pick my own menu item to explore… we’ll find out Friday, and pictures will be shared on my Instagram.

#BannedBooksWeek: The Kite Runner


It’s been quite a while since I read The Kite Runner, but was intrigued when I saw it on this years top ten list. According to the ALA Field Report there were some challenges that resulted in the book remaining on  the school reading lists, but there were some where the book was removed from the list (and not even offered as an alternate reading). 

This is not the first year that The Kite Runner has made the list. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund put together a good article about the decision to pull this book this year — and it is noted in the ALA field report that “Students spoke up about the censorship and as a result, the administration shut down the high school newspaper.”

One of the things that is highlighted about this is the process that is used in deciding if a book is going to be pulled from curriculum or from the library shelves. As noted in the CBLDF article, sometimes it comes down to an individual to make the call (such as the superintendent), which allows for a lot of individual bias to come into play.  Especially when you look at the numbers of who is bringing these challenges.


Library patrons and Parents are the largest groups of challengers, but 14% of challenges are brought by Boards or administrations.  That’s more than Librarians, teachers, political and religious groups, elected officials and students COMBINED.

While we’re looking at the numbers… the vast majority (over half) of all Challenges take place within public libraries.  These also seem to be the ones that we hear a lot less about, perhaps because there isn’t the same level of reaction that we see when a book is challenged in a school.


I can’t help but reflect on how strong the voices of students have been in the past year (and before) when it comes to standing up for their rights, and against things that are wrong in our world… and it makes me wonder if the fact that we hear about so many of the challenges within schools is tied to this phenomenon. Students are raising their voices. Speaking out when they see injustice – I hope we continue to foster this in our younger generations.

(My apologies if this is a bit of an all-over-the-place post. That’s what you get when I end up writing before my morning coffee!)

Are you going to be writing about Banned Books this week? Feel free to share your posts on this Linky-List!


#BannedBooksWeek: This One Summer

This book had been on my “To Read” list for a while, since it appeared on a Banned Books List a few years ago. But it took me until this year to actually pick it up and read it. I’ll admit, I wasn’t wowwed. It was good, but I had a hard time really connecting with the characters. Maybe it’s because I haven’t read a lot of Graphic Novels – it’s generally not a medium that I connect to as well (when it comes to more serious matters. I love it for light and fun reading). It was a good enough book, but not one I really found myself drawn to. But, just because I didn’t particularly enjoy it doesn’t mean it wasn’t a great book for some, and certainly doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be made available! Intended for ages 12+ it seemed a perfectly reasonable book for that age group.

Every summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It’s their getaway, their refuge. Rosie’s friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose’s mom and dad won’t stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. It’s a summer of secrets and sorrow and growing up, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.  – summary from Goodreads

This One Summer was on the top 10 banned list for 2016.  The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has a good article about the challenges to this book, making note that the fact it received a Caldocott Award may have contributed to some of the negative attention it recieved, “A few people, believing the book is aimed at younger readers because it is a Caldecott Honor Book, have been shocked to find that the award winning graphic novel is intended for audiences age 12 and up. Instead of acknowledging their responsibility for knowing the content of a book before purchasing it, some of these people have instead attacked the book, calling for its removal.”

Check out the Office of Intellectual Freedom write-up about This One Summer, and the challenges to it.


Are you going to be writing about Banned Books this week? Feel free to share your posts on this Linky-List!

#BannedBooksWeek: The Hate U Give


With a movie coming out soon, this book has garnered additional attention lately. I had been intending to read it anyhow, and finally got myself off of the wait-list for the ebook from the library.

I really, really, enjoyed this book. Yes, it deals with a very difficult topic. Yes, there is swearing in it. Yes, there is reference to drugs, there is violence…. And yes, these are all realities. And it deals with very timely, relevant issues.
Angie Thomas did a stellar job painting a picture of Starr’s life, drawing us into a world. A world very different from the one I live in, and an important one for all of us to glimpse.

The story summary, from Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

This book was banned in a school district in Texas which led to a flurry of activity on Twitter. This included some teachers speaking out, and the twitter conversation led to people working to get the book into that area as best they could, delivering it to Free Libraries in the area and donating to public libraries.
A South Carolina police union was looking to remove the book from a recommended reading list.

Reasons given for people wanting to ban this book tend to be based on the “language,” “drug use,” and “vulgarity.” I find these reasons to be pretty ridiculous, and highly recommend that you read this book – and then share it with someone else to read.


More Articles about The Hate U Give:
An article about what teachers can do when they discover books have been removed from the shelves of their schools.
More about the banning of The Hate U Give
Angie Thomas on YA Fiction, Being Black in America and More
Angie Thomas: Burn It All Down or Use Those Emotions in My Art
‘The Hate U Give’ Explores Racism and Police Violence
The Hate She Received: Why the Banning of Angie Thomas’ Book was an Insult to the Black Lives Matter Movement.

An update from the author during banned Books week!

Are you going to be writing about Banned Books this week? Feel free to share your posts on this Linky-List!

#BannedBooksWeek: #DearBannedAuthor

This year, let’s send authors of banned books clear support. The Dear Banned Author program encourages us all to write notes to those authors whose works have impacted us, and who have been banned and challenged over the years.Copy of Dear Banned Author (3)_1

There is a spreadsheet of authors, with addresses and twitter tags, so you can reach out to the author(s) you’ve read and enjoyed.

I am hoping to write a few letters myself. Even if you find that the words aren’t quite coming together for a full letter, you could send a tweet – or even just a postcard! The American Library Association has a few downloads to help with this – you can print out a postcard, write a simple message and put it in the mail!
If you’re tweeting be sure to use the hashtag: #DearBannedAuthor – this helps that ALA find the posts!
Let’s show these authors some love!


Are you going to be writing about Banned Books this week? Feel free to share your posts on this Linky-List!