Luster: A Book Review of Sorts

For the last year I’ve been participating in a book club. Normally I’d roll my eyes at that kind of activity, but with our first book being “My Sister, the Serial Killer” by Oyinkan Braithwaite, paired with the boredom and loneliness of pandemic life, this book club couldn’t have been a better fit. 

A few months ago we read “Luster,” a novel by Raven Leilani. I’d seen the book front and center on the shelves at Dog Eared Books in the Castro and had flirted with buying it several times, so when it was chosen as our book club pick I was excited.

Luster is about Edie, a 23-year-old woman living in New York City who begins a relationship with Eric, a man in an open marriage. She’s an artist and after losing her nine-to-five, finds herself struggling to survive. She’s then taken in by her boyfriend’s family and builds unlikely relationships in the process.  

What’s interesting is that our book club discussion of Luster was split pretty evenly down the middle, with the moms and older generation finding it depressing and the younger women finding it funny and relatable. 

I was in the latter camp. I’m a details person and this book is rich with them. Leilani pulls out all the stops for a female millennial audience. I laughed, I marveled, I cringed with knowing, I shook my damn head. You find that Edie, the main character, has and continues to live a hard life, yet you also know Edie because you’ve been Edie. As a girl, her prized possession was a Spice World VHS she received for her birthday. After one particular disappointing and sexless date, she goes home alone and eats half a rotisserie chicken. I am the exact audience for this book.  

Continue reading

A “regular” artist

I did a little painting over the winter break.

5x5" Oil on canvas

I painted this lily for Oz’s sister and her husband. These flowers were in her bouquet at her wedding.

5x5" Oil on canvas

This one was for my Florida grandparents.

15x30" Oil on canvas

This was for Oz’s parents. His mom has tons of family in Nova Scotia and Peggy’s Cove is one of their favorite places. I applied the paint with a palette knife.

And these are just a few pages from my old sketchbook.

I’m pretty sure the top left is Bill Maher. I was messing around with caricature at the time.

"Inventing the Internet"

These are some musings that I dug up from the depths of my hard drive. I’d completely forgotten about them, and I thought I’d just share them. In Writing for the Arts II, Lough asked us if we considered ourselves artists, and it made me think that we should all consider ourselves artists: writers or otherwise.

Ever wonder what writing majors do in class?

If there’s one thing I can say about the writing majors, it’s that we pay very close attention in class. Not necessarily to take notes on the lectures (although we do that too), but mostly, we wait for our professors to say something hilarious so we can write it down and savor it, or for many, Tweet it. These one-liners are what we live for, and they make the 12-hour day of classes go by much faster.

Here is my collection of quotes from this Winter quarter.


  • “It’s like comparing apples to oranges and that’s not very fruitful.”
  • “Smells like tuna, tastes like chicken.”
  • “It’s a dumbass religion” – on Rastafarianism
  • “I just thought of a band: Sudan Somers.”
  • “How can you turn down billionairism?”
  • “Hyenas have dildos.”
  • “Jesus could not drive a stick.”
  • “This is one big incest fest: Incestival.”


  • “Travis doesn’t play Second Life. He’s barely interested in his one life.”
  • “This is like food porn” – on

Griffith’s class:

  • “They’re men, all they need is a pulse.” – Kama

Lough quotes

This is my first quarter with James Lough and I’m learning that he is a very interesting man. For those of you who are unaware, Dr. Lough is the chair of the writing department here at SCAD. He is teaching my Writing for the Arts I class this quarter.

His utterances are often startling and thought-provoking. For that reason, I’ve decided to compile a list of his quotes:

  • “Austrians are just Germans in drag.”
  • “There was a middle-aged, overweight woman in a polyester smock, fingers blackened from gambling, holding margarine tubs full of coins, licking her lips.” – On a woman he’d seen in a casino in Reno
  • “Jim Morrison performs like a snake having sex.”
  • “I was seduced by a parrot.”
  • “Jean stayed on his side. He was as embarrassed as I was. It was kind of cute.”

Many more to come. If you have any of your own Lough quotes, post them here.

Adios, Mexico trip

It deeply grieves me to say that I won’t be able to go on the off-campus Mexico trip this December. At this point you’re probably asking: Why, Sarah? Why aren’t you going on the two week, fun-filled, journal-tastic fiesta? The answer, my friends, is simply: money. I knew it wouldn’t be a cheap trip, but I didn’t realize it would be that expensive.

The tuition for the “Writing About Place” class is going to be $3000, which I fully expected, and am sure that my scholarship would cover it. Then it comes to the $3500 in travel and accommodation fees, which just seems astronomically high. Plus you’d want to have about $500 extra for spending (margarita) money. So that brings us to a grand total of $7000. Wow.

At first I considered possibly taking out a loan for the $4000 fees and worrying about it later. I already have a bunch of loans anyway, what could a little more hurt? But really, it’s just a bad idea altogether.


I received a suggestion from a very good friend who said, “Why not just wait until you’ve graduated,and then go on a trip?” That does make a bit more sense to me, that way I can travel student-style, stay in hostels and save money.

I guess my dreams of writing the next “Eat, Pray, Love” are crushed for now. But I’ll be able to do some travel writing once I’ve graduated in the spring.