silence

Book Review: The Nuns of Lemon Tree House by Melanie Mole & Robert Brooks

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I was introduced to author Melanie Mole in 2017 when I read one of her earlier books which talked about embracing the simple life. In the book, she also covered a small part of her interest in joining a convent, but it is in her latest book, The Nuns of Lemon Tree House, co-written with Robert Brooks, where Melanie explores the entire experience. Although it would never be the life for me (I love the silence and can be obedient, but I think I might miss a few things like tv, foods, liquor, et al…), reading about someone else’s days in a life that often seems to embrace so many of the things to keep us healthy and relaxed is quite intriguing.

The first thing I’d convey about this book is that even with the simplicity of having very little events, it is warm, inviting, and full of action. But that’s kinda the point, isn’t it? A half-day’s walk around the convent just exploring the architecture or floor plan while not highly eventful does offer significant experience and commentary about life. Asking questions, thinking about change, or finding connections between your own life and those living within the convent’s walls induces tons of moments I enjoyed reading about. The authors’ descriptions of everything are in very fine details, conjuring up full images of what Melanie saw during her days with the nuns. It’s vivid and bright even when the room she’s meeting with one of the nuns is dark and gloomy (until she opens her eyes to what’s really present).

nuns

The next thing I found charming about the book was Melanie’s own voice and tone. She laughs at herself and finds humor even in the negative experiences. Fully acknowledging she will have issues with the ‘vow of silence’ helps set the stage for many moments where readers hear her ask question or speak to a nun only to realize she’s not supposed to… after a few, I felt myself reaching out to stop her — it brought levity to the topics and helped us connect with the narrator, Melanie herself, as how many of us would truly remember to keep our mouths closed! But it was when she began talking to herself out loud in the hallways as she explored the buildings and grounds where I realized she’s actually quite savvy at embracing the virtues of the order in her own way. And it helps lead to the answers she’s been searching for.

The journey is one that provided opportunity to learn — both for Melanie and for readers. Slowing down to ask questions (even silently in your own head), to wonder how the nuns function together with little words being said, or to understand how sometimes doing nothing can be more tiring than doing something… all these theories pop into your head. I enjoyed this break from my normal reading style and genre, but I also enjoyed learning about someone else’s life and thoughts. It’s important to breathe in other opinions and experiences, and what better way than by reading a memoir / autobiography of a few weeks in someone’s life.

Kudos to both authors (I’m curious how’d they co-write this… interesting approach), but I also wonder whether Melanie provided a copy to the nuns for future guests in the convent? Life can be a giant circle sometimes and wouldn’t this be a way to connect the past and present together for all visitors and those interested in learning about becoming a nun… And so, you are probably asking yourself whether she became a nun after this experience. Well, here’s what happened… oh, wait, I don’t believe in spoilers for other people. Experience it yourself and go read the book. I’m confident the ending will be quite a fun surprise!

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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365 Challenge: Day 298 – Silence

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Silence: (a) cause to become silent; prohibit or prevent from speaking or (b) complete absence of sound

silence

It is incredibly silent this morning as a blizzard (being called a Bomb Cyclone!) descends on NYC (and lots of other places, too). I adore the silence, as it’s when I can truly think without interruption, usually finding little gems of brilliance. In honor of silence, which often makes me quite happy, today’s post is just that — short, simple and essentially silent. We all need those moments and should never be afraid of basking in them when they are for healthy reasons. On the flip side, there are moments when it is not okay to be silent, but that’s a different post. Find a moment today where you can ignore everything but the silence inside you — and see if it brings about whatever it is you’re looking for.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

365 Challenge: Day 258 – Abbey

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Abbey: (a) building occupied by a community of monks or nuns, (b) a place of silence which I absolutely adore, or (c) an exhibit I’m going to this afternoon

abbey.jpg

I’m in a grouchy mood today, not that you need to know or that it even impacts you; however, I am fairly open and always honest on this blog, so there you have it. I’m not grouchy at anyone in particular, perhaps at myself is the answer. I know the reason. It is not something tangible I can fix or change, nor is it something that will stick around very long, but it always seems to be prevalent in society. Ultimately, I’d like to just take a few steps away from the source of the issue and figure out how to relax and worry less — perhaps go sit in an abbey and not speak to anyone for a few days. I sent off a few emails today to discuss a few ways to try to ‘avoid the issue’ in the future, but ultimately, people are different, have a wide range of styles and opinions and there will always be those who are negative purely because they can be and don’t see any reason to not be negative. {Aside: I don’t particularly like those people and choose to avoid them.}

It’s moments like this where I wish life could be more like it was [in some ways] over a century ago — less intense, not as easy to react, minimal technology and more politeness. I also would like to be in England and practice silence as a current virtue for a little while. Now that I’ve gotten it out of my system (okay, well just saying it doesn’t excise it, but does help to just put out the words), let’s talk about the real point of today’s 365 Daily Challenge… and why I’m super-excited to forget this ‘above nonsense’ and focus on something wonderful. I’m going to the Downton Abbey exhibit this afternoon where I can immerse myself in something I love and enjoy. W introduced me to the show as it began airing the year we met. I hadn’t watched the first season before we went on a first date, but we quickly got caught up and for over 5 years, it was a religious Sunday experience.

I look forward to the potential movie in the future, but for today, I will bask in getting to see the full exhibit. It will undoubtedly turn my grouchy mood into something positively wonderful. I hope you’re all having a great weekend and I will catch up with you tomorrow for the final fiction genre in the current LIST series — and also when I’ll be back to my normal non-grouchy self (tho some might argue I can often be a bit like that).

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

365 Challenge: Day 15 – Sarcastic

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Sarcastic: marked by or given to using irony in order to mock or convey contempt

There aren’t many good images for “sarcastic,” but I was able to find this one. I liked that it should have said “sometimes I’m asleep” or “sometimes I’m sleeping,” but doesn’t!

Today’s characteristic is an unusual one. By true definition, I am absolutely not sarcastic, as when I exhibit the behavior I’m thinking of, it never comes from contempt. My brand of sarcasm is always humorous, and either meant to fill in a gap in silent conversation or an attempt to be funny and show my affection.

I’ve never intended to use contempt; I actually don’t condone that behavior. If you truly dislike something or someone, have unadulterated hatred or anger over it, figure out how to deal with it in a positive way. Don’t take it out on another person. Try to explain to someone why you are angry, figure out a way to fix the situation or convince them what they’ve done is wrong. But don’t ever mock them or physically hurt them because you don’t like what they’ve done (unless you’re trying to stop them from being violent, etc.).

Back to sarcasm. To be sarcastic, you need to be witty and timely. You need to know when to repeat versus leave it at one brief line and let the humor unfold all on its own. My sarcasm often comes out when someone asks me a question that opens an opportunity for me to provide the ultimate silly or stupid answer, thus bringing about a moment of laughter and connection.

Often on the receiving end of my sarcasm is my mother. I love to respond with slightly sarcastic answers to basic questions. For example, when she comes over for lunch and asks what time we’re eating, my response would be, “as soon as you leave, I’ll probably have some lunch. By the way, how long do you plan to stay today?” Or if she wants to know what I’m looking for in the bookstore, I’ll say: “Not sure. Something with words on paper, most likely.” And we’ll banter for a few seconds, get a good laugh, and move on.

Actually, thinking about my history of being sarcastic, the person on the receiving end is almost always the 3 or 4 people I’m closest to… parents, partner, best friend… how interesting it should be those you love!

As I write this, and truly think about the definition, maybe I’m not sarcastic. I wouldn’t call myself witty. Perhaps I’m sassy? Although, sassy to me implies a much more boisterous tone, and I’m anything but boisterous. Any suggestions for the best trait to use here? <i>I’m sure someone as literate and intelligent as anyone, like you, reading my blog must know the word I’m trying to use…<i/>

I think about the people I’ve interacted with over my time and don’t really ever recall being on the other end of the someone’s sarcasm. I tend to not engage with people who come across mean-spirited or contemptuous, unless there is humor attached to it. Humor helps ease the situation, ensure words aren’t bitter, or as bitter as they could be taken.

People often use sarcasm as a way to avoid the truth or intimacy, a detraction from something they are uncomfortable with. I’ve done that a few times. Someone asks a question that requires you to reveal or respond in a way you would prefer not to. So you deflect with a sarcastic comment and hope to end the conversation. It’s rare I will use it, as I believe I mentioned very early on in these daily challenges that I am honest, and prefer to just say what I’m thinking. But sometimes you just don’t want to engage in a specific conversation for any number of reasons.

If someone often brings up a negative item (constantly referring to themselves as overweight or not intelligent, etc.), and you’ve tried to convince them otherwise many times before, sarcasm may come into play. You can change the topic, or say something sarcastic about yourself to level-set the conversation and hope it moves on. Not in any grand manner, but in the hopes you don’t have to repeat prior discussions or soothe someones mind yet another time. I don’t mean this to be insensitive, but you can only help someone else as much as (s)he is willing to be helped and you are educated.

So… sarcasm can be a handy tool for good reasons, which perhaps means I am considered sarcastic. Ugh, I’m just talking to myself on this one. Like you’d know, right?