Holy friggin' crappoli.
I've been having a tough few weeks before Spring Break.
A major scholarship fell through, lots of stress and
major projects, dark circles and wrinkles under my
eyes, blah blah blah.
Every night I talk to my family on FaceTime and
for Valentine's Day my little sister bought me a chocolate
bar but I haven't been home to eat it, obviously being
quite far away. While on FaceTime,
I'd mentioned how I'd almost bought a giant stuffed teddybear but it was too much money, and how I'm down to one package of ramen and some almonds in my dorm room, and how I hardly have any socks. Now these were just offhand comments; I was just saying how my day went or explaining how my one pair of socks smelled like boots and I took them off but didn't have enough socks for the week to put on new ones. My family tells me I come home from college too thin, I explain meal plans, the repartee continues. College issues.
But then today happened. I popped out of 19th century art history, played the piano, got lunch and wrote so many notes (four pages) about Leonardo's Adoration of the Magi that my brain still hurts. The mail room emailed me that I had two packages waiting for me. Last night my mom warned me of a "surprise" coming and I figured they were mailing me the candy bar. But two packages? I was really ready to find a box empty except for the candy--like prank. Maybe one of my friends from the city sent something, or another family member--when I went to the union and gave them my ID, the girl came back with these HUGE boxes. They were so big I had to hold them with one arm and my chin to get through doors. It was what I'd always dreamed of as a little kid.
And inside..inside there was BREAKFAST FOODS and RAMEN and TUNA FOR LENT. I found INSPIRATIONAL FRENCH SOCKS and A STUFFED DUCK to snuggle with and ENOUGH CANDY THAT I NOW HAVE A CANDY DRAWER.
Sugar, food, stuffed animals and socks, people. I could not ask for more. Basically I was very surprised and touched because these were things I'd taken with a just-get-over-it attitude and so today is a very great Tuesday indeed. :)
How has your week been?
Topic: If you have (or even if you don't have) a bucket list, what top priority thing(s) do you want to accomplish?
Ahahaha, okay. If you had asked me this when I was eight, it would’ve been a way cooler list. It would’ve had things like “dig up a plesiosaur,” and “be an astronaut,” and “go to culinary school,” and “be a nature photographer.” For the biggest while, I really wanted to work for National Geographic. Alright who am I kidding. If NG called me up and said, “Get your camera and take the next flight out to the Amazon, we need some pics of the Kuarup festival,” there would be a puff of air and I’d be gone. But no such call has happened, and my brilliant explorer plans have been clinched and bound a bit by people telling me to “go to college,” and this weird insistence that I’ll have to pay things called “taxes” soon, but don’t worry, I’m still a nonconventional dreamer, I swear! Pinky promise. Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye.
I actually had to think about this long and hard because I haven’t thought that far into the future yet. I’m just trying to survive this week in college, and my study abroad applications, and my scholarship apps, and trying to get more stories published, and planning where I’m gonna grab a really ace internship. To be honest, the future is a wonderful but unsteadily nervous-making place. But I scrambled up a list of top 10 things I’d love to do before I die.
1. Publish a book in print. Okay, I do have a story published; a novella called The Christmas Lights and I cried when I got a contract from Quebec’s MuseItUp Publishing and I adore it and I have marvelous cover art, and people have left comments on Amazon and Barnes and Noble that made my heart swell. But, also, some people were beyond not-impressed because it’s a novella, so it’s only in e-book form. So publishing a book in print will not only send me through the roof because (1) AGH, I can touch it and hold it in my hands and put it on a shelf and read something that started in my head on crisp paper, but I can also (2) show it to these people while mentally screaming, “AM I GOOD ENOUGH NOW?”
2. Have a book launch party. Books again, sorry. I’m a writer though. You are on my writing blog. You really shouldn’t be surprised. I had a dream about this, once. Before I got published, I would daydream about acknowledgements pages and stuff. Nerdy, right? NO. DO YOU KNOW HOW AMAZING IT IS TO BE ABLE TO THANK THE PEOPLE WHO’VE HELPED YOU PUT A STORY INTO PRINT? HOW FREAKING DIFFICULT THAT IS? Anyway, I’ve gotten to write acknowledgement pages and have cover art *swoon* (Carolina Bensler is my homegirl, please check out her amazing manips because she is a Spanish-speaking sweetheart and skilled with Photoshop, I tell you), but I had this dream when I was 15 or 16 about being on the top floor of a skyscraper in some city, and everything was draped in red like the Chinese New Year, and my book was set up on stands on this table and everybody was dressed in sparkly songstress dresses like we were having some Gatsby party. There was music and food and champagne and it was just this big fun soirée. I understand that will probably only happen if by the grace of God I somehow write something that becomes a bestseller, and I would definitely settle for a blaring radio, some good friends, and a box of pizza, but the point is I want to celebrate in person with friends who’ve slogged through the process with me and to feel the unity and celebration of finally making it happen.
3. Send my parents on a freakin’ honeymoon. I’m not 100% sure what went down, but some shady family interruption made it so my mom and dad couldn’t go on their honeymoon and that really bothers me. The honeymoon is, like, the really fun part of getting married. You just vowed to love someone forever, and whoosh—you run off somewhere really fun and romantic and hang out and love each other and do whatever you want. Rose petals. Beaches. My parents didn’t get to have that, and then they had three really weird daughters and barely have any time to themselves, and they’re beyond wonderful people and I know they probably don’t even think about their honeymoon anymore, but one day I want to stop buy and just slap them in the chest with a check or a roll of bills. Bills would be way more fun. I would slap it in their hands and make them take it and say, “Go somewhere nice, you crazy kids.” And they would say, “Oh my gosh that’s so much money,” and I would force them to spend it all on themselves and they would go off and have a good time and my soul would be happy.
4. Visit the Louvre. I’m an art freak, beware. I don’t care if the Mona Lisa is actually small and unimpressive and behind a wall of glass, I WANNA SEE IT. Also, the Louvre is in Paris which means the Eiffel Tower and artist stalls and pretty food and someone sure as heck better be playing an accordion as I’m walking around otherwise my life is a lie.
5. Visit an Irish pub and listen to their intoxicating, foot stomping music and order a foamy beer on tap even if it tastes gross.
6. Sing in a beautiful cathedral, like, one with high Gothic ceilings and ribbed vaults and stained glass, with candles in the corners and everyone’s voices echoing all heavenly-like. I don’t know. It would just be a really awesome experience.
7. Go to Carnival in Venice! Go big or go home; I want to wear a mask and an old fashioned dress and wander the canals at night and ride in a gondola and hear people singing Italian.
8. Swim with a dolphin. Do I need to explain this?
9. Attend a front row concert. Oooohhhh I’m so shameful, and right now I’m saving money for study abroad but there are Platinum seats for the this concert in the city only an hour away from my hometown, which means EYE CONTACT and ACTUALLY BEING ABLE TO SEE, but the stars are not in position and my lord is it painful.
10. See GREAT Shakespeare. I recently watched Shakespeare in Love and fell, uh, in love. It was SO GOOD. Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes were SO CUTE, and spoke Shakespeare like ACTUAL DIALOGUE. You know how onstage, people always “act” Shakespeare? Like, you HAVE to pause after each line of prose? Well in the movie they spoke the lines like actual people, and it was beautiful, and I cried. So if I could see live Shakespeare and it was really great, uh, yeah. That would be fantastic.
So here's the tables turned, comrades: what do YOU want to do before you die? :)
More specifically, writers are sometimes pretty dang dumb.
Take me, for example. A couple weeks ago, until about two days before today, I was 98% sure I would never write anything worth reading ever again.
Have any of you experienced a writing crash? I had just wrapped up a series of three books, three books with characters I loved and hated and cried over. I'd given up on this series and hated it, then returned and loved it even more. I learned, writing these books. I grew up with these characters. So, once I put that period on the last sentence, I didn't know what to do. How to function. How to leave them.
I had to find a new story, obviously, but how? Who to follow on their adventure next? I began to feel physically sick and afraid, frantically trying to gouge great story ideas out of my brain. I needed to write. Needed to. I get mentally depressed if I don't, and I thought, well, no one will want to keep contracting me because I won't have anything left to write.
For some reason, I thought storytelling was a thing that could be exhausted like a gas tank. So I drew the cartoon above. Like writing, drawing ekes out my emotions and puts them somewhere else and boom--my head cleared. I looked at the drawing and thought how STUPID I was being. Of course I wasn't done! I would never be done! I was writing a scholarship essay at the time, and my wording jumped from "eh" to "AWARD HER MONEY THIS INSTANT." Then I thought of what would happen if King Arthur was real and his descendants were still around and kicking and were supposed to be keeping all things macabre and mystical in check, and if said descendant was really unimpressed with all things magical and just wanted to go to culinary school instead of being king? Weird, I know, but I was intrigued.
So, if you're experiencing writer's crash, do not fret. You are AMAZING and IMAGINATIVE and you just need to loosen the reigns a bit instead of surging into panic mode. You got this. Chill. Read a book. Draw. Sing. Let the ideas flow, because oh, ideas will come. Do. Not. Freak. Out.
I just like to remember this Thomas Edison quote that is stuck to my closet door at home: "If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves." I don't always believe it, but at least it perks me up and sets me on my game. :)
The past few days have got me thinking that
I am suffering from a deficiency of love.
No snuggle buddy, no new story ideas,
nada. It's not that I don't have love to
give--jeez, sometimes it's burbling right out
of my soul and I think, if only I had--but
it's that I don't have anyone to give it to.
At least, that's what I'd thought. The
problem is, we often can't help who we love, and usually they're nowhere to be found when we're looking really hard, and then they pop up in a burst of angel song and soon as we decide not to try anymore.
I'm speaking literally and fictionally here. Last month, I typed out the concluding pages to a series I started when I was about fourteen or fifteen; the first books I ever actually finished. When I saved and clicked out of the word doc, I felt a weird mixture of closure and sadness like an iron fence had just been built between me and some of my best friends. It was over. No more adventures. This was a story I'd gotten depressed over, fretted over, cried over, and laughed over. I loved it more than even some people I was friends with. When I was struggling with writing a different story, these characters were always there to pick up the slack and remind me that I hadn't given them a happy ending yet. Actually, for a good four months I actually left them at the hugest cliff hanger I've ever written.
So, the end, right? Time for a new story. But with who? Story ideas always tackle me out of the blue; in funny random thoughts that jab into my brain and won't let go. I can't summon them; couldn't force them if I tried. Which I have been ever since I closed off my series which I'm now trying to publish. I've devised new characters who're fun and quirky and brave and awesome--but there's no plot. I have no idea what they're supposed to do, and forcing it makes me grumpy.
And so, as per my same tactic with rousting out a significant other, I'm going to relax. I'm going to remain calm and be myself and maybe keep only half an eye open for possible stories. One will come. It always does.
Also, it's Valentine's Day tomorrow. I plan to dress impeccably hot and glamorous, but that's just for me. ;)
Here's a wonder: what do you guys do when you want to begin writing a new story? How do you tempt new plots and characters out of hiding?
“Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.”
Wheeew! I’m back online and now with a nice new writing blog! And let me tell you what I went through to find my back into the cyber world. Because I backed out pretty far, so far that Facebook emailed to yell at me for my lack of paying attention to any electronic device but a phone and a clock. And don’t worry. I have multiple, perfect excuses for not being a productive writer and blogger.
1. Um—cooking food?! At home there’s this magical room called a “kitchen” and I can actually make what I want to eat instead of having to stand in line and buy something! But kitchens can be dangerous, too: strange, tiny creatures called “little sisters” have been known to lurk around the cabinets and love to photobomb Instagrammy pics of homemade cuisine!
2. It’s hard to be on the internet while you’re outside in the chilly winter wonderland, especially when you’re being pulled on a historic tour by two ginormous Belgian horses! My cousin thought they were going to step on us if we got to close, but they were sweetie pies.
3. After said historic tour, WiFi or Word documents are still nowhere to be found as you explore a castle made of ice! It’s still under construction, but it was already pretty imposing. We climbed on it and pretended to haul pieces off. I couldn’t feel my toes. :)
4. It’s also hard to type when you can breath about as well as Kiera Knightly right before she toppled off the stone wall in Curse of the Black Pearl. My little sister is having a Valentine’s Day dance this Friday and my great aunt sent her some antique dresses and this one was too big for her. I couldn’t take deep breaths, but check out my waist!
5. Playing with my almost 15-yr old doggy was also more important than blogging or writing. Can you blame me?
Other perfectly fabulous excuses: shopping for Valentine’s and almost buying a $40 stuffed bear because your non-existent love and family won’t buy it for you; almost adopting a tiny pig named Walter in a heart bandanna, or just generally spending time with family you haven’t seen in three weeks.
OOH, ALSO A BONUS #6 EXCUSE OF
FINDING OUT THERE WAS A PUPPY IN YOUR DORM WHILE YOU WERE GONE SO NOW YOU CANNOT POSSIBLY PRODUCE ANYTHING OF WORTH
Favorite excuse not to write/blog? Tell me! :D
A worthy conundrum. And I'm not being rude, I swear! Many thanks you for showing up here on this blog. Maybe you stumbled across my Goodreads or, you must be quite the navigator if this is true, you read my novella, The Christmas Lights. Or it could be you follow my Instagram, which led you to my Tumblr, or goodness knows, maybe you actually know me and saw this on Facebook, or I told you about it!
November 14, 2014, I became a published author. It was kind of a big deal for me. I'd printed out my books before, yeah, but for some reason that doesn't seem to count. A Canadian publishing company called MuseItUp hired me under contract for a little story about Christmas and a nearly blind boy and stuck me in a Yahoo group with authors from all over the world. I asked for the ropes and they told me to get a blog, and I thought, Tumblr! I'd heard all about it (Tumblr has quite the shady reputation, actually), and I learned to use gifs and promoted my book and have met wonderful people and even sold a book because of it.
But, to be honest, Tumblr gives me anxiety. That blogging site takes the term "anything goes" and shoots it into hyper drive. And people actively complain about long posts. I'm not saying Tumblr isn't great for promotion, and I still have one (see contacts page) but last night I got on after not being online for a few days, and had literal nightmares about the website until I had to leave my dorm room at 2 am and try to calm down. And it wasn't the first time. I guess I want to write actual articles along with fun pictures and gifs, and it's not that I feel...unsafe on Tumblr, but people can be extremely harsh, all or nothing. Which is great, again, but what I'm saying is that it is very EXTREME in every outlet. I just want to write for people who like books, and reading, and writing, and an assortment of other quirky things, in a safe place that's PG-13 at worst.
So, here I am, about to chronicle how to balance college, traveling abroad, writing, and life in general. Join me? :)