Estelle is in between blogging gigs but is proud of her work at Rather Be Reading Blog and This Happy Place Blog. She’s a book publicist, a super Muppet fan, and thinks her cat is the cutest in the universe. She’s always tweeting @thatsostelle.
Estelle is one of my favorite people that I’ve gotten to meet through blogging/twitter and a great person to talk about books and all sorts of other things.
Estelle is joining Poetically Speaking today to talk about journaling, poetry, and Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally.
“It’s not like the paper will judge me, or question my sanity, or doubt my ability to lead a football game.” – Jordan in Catching Jordan
When my head gets crowded with too many negative thoughts and life is jam packed with twists and turns, books and yoga and spending quality time with people who make me laugh are high on my list of ways to cope. I’ve realized lately that when I was younger I would always write in my journal, and have asked myself (rather loudly) if losing that routine has made me a little less adept at dealing. (I’m sure this isn’t true but it’s a fair question!) So this year I made a small goal to write more (freak out less?) and so far it’s going… okay. 2016 has already been full of many adjustments, and while I’ve written in my journal more the last four months than I have in the last four years, it’s still a work in progress.
This leads me to Catching Jordan from the fabulous Hundred Oaks young adult series from Miranda Kenneally. Yes, readers, this is a great, feel-good series for the sports lover. Just look at those adorable book covers. But underneath, it’s so much more than that. Girls dealing with real life pressures, finding a balance between who they are expected to be and who they really are, and maneuvering life as imperfect humans. It may seem like a strange focus for a poetry feature, but Jordan was the first person I thought of when I started thinking about this piece. In her book, she’s the quarterback of her football team (only girl player), her father is an ex-professional player who isn’t exactly supportive of her football dreams, and Jordan is dealing with the very delicate balance of wanting to be respected by her fellow teammates and college recruiters for being a kick ass football player and finding herself falling for a guy for the first time and not wanting this to be seen as a sign of weakness.
Whew! It’s a lot.
I admire Jordan’s tenacity, her commitment to her game, her loyalty to her friends, and her strength — mind and body. But what I love the most is that when she’s the most out of her emotional element, she turns to a journal her mom bought her — a gift she totally made fun of — to be her safe place. Catching Jordan is peppered with pieces of poetry, expressing her frustrations with her dad and wanting his acceptance, choosing between her head and her heart, and even discovering her sexy side. Being the only girl on her sports team about to jump into a college life with similar demographics, Jordan is able to open up in ways she couldn’t on the field or in her applications. She didn’t know the first thing about poetry but throwing these words on the page untangled the complicated feelings in her head and gave a voice to many of the worries and stresses she wasn’t ready to share out loud.
Watching my favorite sport
Watching my favorite brother
(okay, my only brother)
Watching my only father cheer for Mike
Telling Mom how proud he is
Saying no father could have a better son
And I’m sitting right there
Ready to drown myself in nacho cheese
‘Cause all I have is football
And the person I want to share with with,
more than anything
Hasn’t even asked me if I won last night…
We’re not all going to grow up to be e.e. cummings, Emily Dickinson, or even Shel Silverstein, but I love that Kenneally shows readers that writing (in any form) can be a lifeline, even if it doesn’t see the light of day. That there’s nothing gendered about our reactions to certain situations and how we choose to deal with them. That sometimes the thing we laughed at (especially that thing our mom suggested we do) turns out to be just what we needed — at a completely different time. And most importantly, as Jordan finds out, there’s always more to discover about ourselves.
Thank you to Estelle for this great post.
If you want to hear more from Estelle you can find her on Twitter @thatsostelle