Thursday, April 27, 2017

Vessels: A Love Story Book Review

Vessels: A Love Story
By Daniel Raeburn
ISBN: 978-0-393-28538-3
Copyright 2016
Trade Paperback, 176 pages, $23.95         

       When Dan, a writer with a passion for underground comics, and his wife Bekah, a potter dedicated to traditional Japanese ceramics, met through a mutual friend at a Memorial Day party, they fell in love quickly. “Of all the women I’ve ever met,” Dan told a friend, “she’s the first one who felt like family.” But after spending Christmas with Dan’s family, tragedy struck. The baby, whom Bekah and Dan named Irene, wasn’t moving and Bekah didn’t feel right. The following day, Bekah went to the doctor only to find out that Irene was dead. Leaving her with the only decision: deliver a stillborn. 
After the devastating loss of Irene, Dan and Bekah were stuck in a cycle of being depressed and not wanting to live.  Bekah spent most of that time being stuck on bedrest while the rest of the world sped past her. She got to the point where she was tired of everyone else doing the work for her and willed herself out of bed. “She didn’t want to work with anyone who’d known her before the birthday. When her fever receded she got dressed and rode a bus to the skyscrapers downtown, where she took a job in an office where no one knew anything about her but her name” (pp. 47).  
A little over a year, their wedding and honeymoon later, Bekah was pregnant again. Knowing and remembering what happened with Irene, Bekah and Dan were on edge about everything. And in hopes of not jinxing this pregnancy, Bekah and Dan didn’t tell anyone. The baby was breech, so a C-section was scheduled, and the baby was delivered with no problems. They named her Willa.
Based on Daniel Raeburn’s acclaimed New Yorker essay, Vessels: A Love Story is the story of how he and Bekah fought and clung to each other through a miscarriage in December of 2003, a still-birth in December of 2004, a C-section in May of 2006 (Willa), a miscarriage in December of 2008, and then finally having Hazel and joyfully becoming parents. In prose as delightful as his wife’s pottery, Raeburn recounts a marriage cemented by the same events that nearly broke it.
Vessels is an unwavering, immensely moving story of intimacy, strength, and love.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

J Mac at BSU

** First off, just in case this somehow makes it to Jesse himself, I just wanted to thank you for making all my childhood and teenage dreams come true. I never thought I would see you in concert, let alone meet you. So thank you. For everything. **

Jesse McCartney,
            All right, let me tell you a story. When I was about five, I was introduced to the lovely boyband called Dream Street. I wasn’t really into music back then. Granted, I was only five years old, so what did I know? Anyway, my sister and I were really into everything that was involved in Dream Street, especially when we picked our favorite members. Courtney’s favorite was always Chris Trousdale. And, Jesse, you were always my favorite. My five-year old self always saw something special in you. Believe me when I say, seeing something special in you hasn’t stopped. And probably never will.
            When Dream Street broke up in 2002, my heart broke with it. But it definitely spurred my love for all boybands. But I never stopped being a fan of yours, Jesse. And when your album “Beautiful Soul” came out in 2004, everything was perfect. I was only ten years old at the time, but every song on that album meant so much to me. I didn’t know it at the time, but your songs have helped me through every rough patch I’ve ever endured in my life. More specifically, “Because You Live.” It just spoke to me. But don’t think I have forgotten about your other three albums. They were equally just as amazing as “Beautiful Soul.” All yours songs have touched me in a way that I can’t seem to put into words at the moment.
            Given everything that I just told you, when I say that seeing you, Jesse McCartney, in concert has been in preparation for years, I mean it. Anytime he was in Indiana (I don’t remember all the specific dates), I was either too young to go to a concert or my mother didn’t think I was ready for it. And then, on my way home from Ball State one weekend, your face pops up on my facebook page and announces that you will be coming to BSU. When I say I freaked out a little bit, I’m lying. I completely lost my shit. I’m pretty sure I screamed. I think I might have even started hyperventilating. But in the best way possible. It’s my senior year and I wanted to go out with a BANG. Seeing you in concert and taking a picture with you made my senior the best year here.
            The morning before the concert, I was too excited to do anything else but think about hearing “Beautiful Soul” performed live. How pathetic, right? Anyway, I took my sister back to her dorm for her to get ready for her class. And then I got ready. I showered, did my make-up, and counted down the hours until it was time to head over to campus. I was so excited and nervous to meet you that I let my sister do my hair so I looked perfect for the picture we would take together. Shortly after, my friend Monica showed up and we were ready for our night to begin.
            We got to campus around four in the afternoon and spent some time in Woodworth, since it was the closest to Pruis. We enjoyed some fast snacks, taking selfies, and just talking about everything going on in our lives. And then it was finally time. We got there just in time to be at the beginning of the second row of people to meet you. We waited for over an hour, but it was so worth it. When it was finally our turn to take our picture with you, I was so nervous that I thought I was going to pass out. But seeing your smiling face made everything so much better. You greeted us with “Hey, guys” and a smile. I shook your hand, even though I wanted to go in for a hug, but I didn’t want to be too forward. So I was just happy that I got to stand close to you. And when you said “Say hi to Instagram,” I didn’t know what to do, so I did this stupid wave thing? I don’t know, I was just so nervous. Meeting you took about a whole twenty seconds before we were rushed off. But I understood. I don’t regret a thing from that night.
            Fast forward to you gracing us with your presence on the stage, and starting the show off with “Leavin’.” I remember everything from that night. Everything from me screaming so much and so loud that my throat hurt instantly to watching you choose some random girl in the front row to sing “The Stupid Things” and another girl to hold your water bottle, and finally, to you ending your stay at BSU with singing “Beautiful Soul.”
            Everything about that night was a dream come true for me, and probably for most of the others that saw you. I don’t know how to explain how much you mean to me, Jesse. But I thank you and eagerly await your new album.

Caroline Delk