Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Little Secret Notebook of Rude Remarks

After work a few days ago, as I was scrolling through the million blogs in my RSS reader, I wondered whether someday I might regret having spent so much time simply reading a ton of blogs. But then I realized that -- even if I don't get as much done as I'd like -- I do get a lot of stuff done, and that I need to spend a certain amount of time doing something that is simply pleasant and relaxing.

Then, more recently, I caught myself wasting time and energy on something that I really do regret wasting time and energy on: getting upset and stewing over some rude remarks that someone spontaneously decided to email me. If it were just some random person on the Internet, it would be easy to simply laugh it off. But not so much when it's someone I, unfortunately, have to deal with in real life.

My rational side says to me If she thinks it's a good idea to send people messages like that, it's her problem and not mine. And no matter how tempting it would be to respond in kind -- no matter how clever my rude retort would be! -- my rational side keeps saying don't do it! That would only make. it. worse. Simply avoid this person and stop worrying about it.

But not thinking about something is easier said than done.

Fortunately -- as with stress-induced insomnia -- this problem has a simple and relatively effective cure. (Recall that for insomnia, the trick is to get an mp3 player and listen to foreign language lessons.) For this one, it's: write it down. Get a paper or a little notebook and write down all the reasons why that person is totally wrong. In the wrong already before she contacted me, and doubly wrong to compound it by adding insult to injury, making it impossible to have a rational discussion about the situation.

Interestingly, it works a lot like the "pensive". (More wisdom from Harry Potter!) Somehow my brain gets the message that all my points are carefully stored on a paper somewhere, hence it doesn't need to keep forcing me to involuntarily review them. And soon it really does become just another funny story. Her problem, not mine.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Two great new Amazon reviews of ExMormon!

I am an ex-Christian, and not an ex-Mormon, however I identified soooo much with this book of stories. I was April, Lynn and Jill. It was the little things really - that I only had one "church friend" because our church was small and exclusive and there were only a few other kids my age. Especially poignant are the stories of discovering sexuality, and the shame and guilt that go with that in a conservative Christian environment. Like the first time reading the word "masturbation" and recognizing what it is I do (several times a week). Then rationalizing by only fantasizing about married sex.

It follows the stories of several different characters who's lives are all connected in some way. All the characters are written with love and humor, giving them depth and clear room to grow and learn, whether they remain in the faith or leave it. It shows the interactions between believers, doubters and unbelievers in a realistic way, far more so than any other book I've read on this topic. It also shows how leaving the faith comes in many different ways for different people.

I just felt that I had to say something, because I simply loved this book.

-- Aimee

Now in a spiffy new-and-improved illustrated edition, this book was written by a multi-talented former Mormon who's now an expatriate living with her family in Switzerland (she's also a blogger, and did her own illustrations for the book). It's a series of novellas with linked characters and plots, and centers around the experience of growing up Mormon. Some characters are true believers, some are skeptics or struggling, and others have left the Church. The stories explore conflicts between people in various states of Mormon-ness and the world outside Mormonism. While the book has some of the usual flaws of a first novel (e.g., sometimes it lacks scene-setting descriptions, or dialogue comes across as stiff and clunky), it also has a lot of insightfulness and humor, and is well worth a read for anyone interested in literary depictions of Mormons struggling with or leaving their faith.

-- Groggie

I try not to look at ExMormon's Amazon page too often, because it doesn't get that many reviews, and I'd rather be pleasantly surprised once or twice a year than disappointed once a week. ;^)

If you're one of the nearly-two-thousand people who've read ExMormon -- if you have a minute to go add an Amazon review (or even just recommend the book to your friends), I'd really appreciate it! Thanks!! :D

*** Update! *** I just saw that someone posted a recommendation of ExMormon over on Friendly Atheist's post about BYU atheists!!

I definitely feel for ex-mormons, especially in the beginning. I finished reading a good book online called Ex-Mormon.

Even though I didn't grow up Mormon, a lot of things were similar to my childhood in the church of christ. Its a good read if you have the time for it.