Archive | February, 2014

Happy Valentine’s Day to the Lovers & the Loners

15 Feb

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the lovers and the loners out there. To those who have someone and those who don’t.

For anyone who didn’t have someone to kiss today, or someone’s hand to hold, it’s alright. Neither did I. But life is not necessarily about needing someone else. It’s about being with someone who makes you whole. Someone who makes you better. So just because you’re not with that person today doesn’t mean you won’t ever find them.

I heard a lyric once that really stuck with me:

‘They say love is a trap door that you really can’t look for’

(It’s a song by Dia Frampton (half of Meg & Dia) called Love Can Come From Anywhere. She did an exceptionally amazing rendition of ‘Heartless’ by Kanye West too. She was playing piano and singing. Three words: Look it up.)

Anyway, those lyrics stuck with me for a few reasons. For starters, it’s unbelievably accurate. Love can come out of nowhere. One moment, you’re walking down the street and the next moment, time stops. It sounds cheesy, but yes, it does happen like that sometimes. And there are a few things you need to know to be prepared when it happens. If you come across someone who stops you dead in your tracks and you look at each other, feeling as if you know each other, or want to know each other, then it’s a sign. Seize it. Because just as fast as it can come, it can disappear, leaving you wondering ‘what if I had…’ 

Another reason those lyrics hit me so hard is because I see so many people, searching for love, and through any and all mediums. Bars. Internet sites. Everything. While I’m not knocking those approaches to finding love, I think love is something you really can’t go on a mission to find. It’s just one of those things you have to be open and ready for, for it to find you.

Sorry if this post is a little corny. I’m going to end it by saying I think adults are all just little kids that grew up. As I get older, I realize this is at least the way it should be. Keeping a child-like spirit alive in your heart is what keeps us young. It’s what keeps us open to receiving certain signs. If you lose your innocent, honest perspective of the world around you, you miss a lot of things.

My father has passed a lot of wisdom down to me over the years. I was complaining of getting older, and he told me two things I’d never forget:

1. Getting older sucks, sure, but it beats the hell out of the alternative.

2. Don’t look at a birthday and getting a year older as something you dread, look at it like you survived another year. It’s something to celebrate.

I took these two pieces of advice and mixed them with my own interpretations of getting older, but keeping my fresh outlook on life similar to a child’s. I have a license to drive. I can eat ice cream for dinner if I want. Sh#t, I can do whatever I want in life! And that’s pretty damn cool.

I used to go back and forth, from having a negative outlook on life and then back to a positive one. It’s easy to continue thinking negatively once you start. But it’s a hell of a lot easier being optimistic. Especially when you realize you don’t have much to complain about, because the only one you can blame for having a sh#tty life, is yourself.

So cheers to being an adult in a (somewhat) adult body. And to people still thinking I’m seventeen because I’m so darn little. Thanks, genetics.

Let’s eat some f#%$ing cupcakes already!

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Writing through the Blizzards

13 Feb

I found myself a little discouraged last night. It’s been almost four months since I’ve sent my full manuscript to an agent, and in between then I’ve gotten a dozen of rejection letters back from agents who seem to all be telling me the same thing. They liked the sample pages, but they didn’t love them enough to take me on as a client.

I know the marketplace is tough and competitive right now. My major is English and Creative Writing. Of course, I’ve learned this. I’ve studied it. I understand my chances are slim to none. But when you really believe in a specific book you wrote, is there a certain time when you should throw in the towel and give up?

I say- hell no. Not when you really, really, really believe in a novel. I’ve gone to countless websites, looked at publishers who accept unagented submissions. But I won’t submit to them, not until I’ve exhausted all of my options of finding an agent to find the right publisher for me.

There’s a blizzard outside right now. I think there’s a metaphor in here somewhere. I’m going to try to find it beneath the snow and sorrow. The trick is to trudge on, travel on- despite the disastrous conditions. Eventually, you’ll reach your destination.

At least, that’s what I have to believe. Hope is not lost. While publishers are seeking that gem in the slush pile, I’m seeking that gem in the agent pile. My query letter is going to fall into the hands of the right agent, the one I’m meant to work with, and everything is going to make sense. That’s what I have to believe.

And, by all means, I’m not saying I write just to get that elusive book deal. I’ve self-published three books without querying them. Why? Because I knew they weren’t mainstream enough to appeal to the masses. They were off-beat, quirky, a little esoteric. But certain things have happened during this journey of writing my fantasy novel. It led me to believe this is the one I need to try to get published. And I won’t simply give up and self-publish it when I feel that hope is lost.

As writers, we need to recognize and understand which of our work is suited for what. Sometimes self-publishing is the best option, despite the terrible name it has seemed to claim over time. I don’t see anything wrong with self-publishing; unless, of course, it’s a novel that you truly and wholeheartedly believe in. And even then, it can be successful. But it takes a hell of a lot more hard work in terms of marketing yourself and advertising for it.

And honestly? Sure, I did radio and newspaper interviews for my short novel and novella, but I didn’t try that hard. And I’m pretty sure I don’t get royalties every time my books sell, because there are dozens of places it’s being sold and I don’t even know how they got the books in the first place, because I never got those checks.

With that said, even though this may come as a shock to some people that I really don’t care about the royalty checks, but I really don’t. I didn’t self-publish in hopes of making money. I self-published for one reason and one reason alone: to get my work out there. I wanted my books to be available to the public, to whoever wanted to read them. The money means nothing to me. I don’t need much money in life, although it would be nice to get a large sum once so I can pay off my student loans. But other than that, money is just money to me. I’ve never had much to begin with.

So, as the blizzard rages on, I’m going to sit here after I finish this post and continue to trek on as I write the sequel to my fantasy novel. Because even though agents don’t ‘love’ it right now, I have a handful of people reading it as I go, pushing me to write the pages because they love it and want to see what happens next. And isn’t that what matters most? That there are genuine readers who love your work and want to read more of it? I write for them. And for myself. I will continue to share my work, even if it’s on a smaller scale.

I write despite the disastrous conditions. And I will trudge and travel on through the storm.

Writer’s Block

12 Feb

 

I’d compare writer’s block to being severely constipated. It’s like you really want to go…but you just can’t.

Until you realize it’s time to sh#t or get off the pot.

What’s the figurative laxative?

Umm…….

Coffee?

Tried it.

Laundry?

Tried it.

Exercise obsessively to get your mind going?

Tried it.

Sit around and stare at the lap top screen hoping it comes to you?

Tried it.

Play with your dog?

Tried it.

Fold the laundry?

Tried it.

Eat some peanuts?

Tried it.

Look at the clock and realize most of the day is gone and you’re almost SOL?

Trying it..

 

Here’s to just plain old sh#tting out words and hoping they come out alright. Cheers!

 

 

Why the Past isn’t Something to Regret

11 Feb

 

I’ve strayed off the topic of love and relationships for a while. One reason being that I found myself pretty loveless for a while, or at least jaded. I wanted so desperately to believe I had found my soul mate and everything I was missing in life had been discovered. Wrong.

But I did discover a few things. You can find love in life, just as quickly as you can lose it. You can meet someone to turn your entire world into something completely different than what it was. It can be moving, changing, unexplainable. It can make you happier than you ever remember feeling before.

And when it disappears, it can leave you almost even worse than you were before. But was I miserable before? No. Well, maybe. But I was more miserable with the fact that I was torn in two different directions of where my life could possibly go.

Now let me bring up the topic of destiny once again. Yes, I believe everything happens for a reason. And something confirmed my belief in it again today.

I walk my dog every day. Every day.

 

Image

(Me and Pudgy)

As you can see, she’s a (drop dead gorgeous) Siberian husky. She has more energy than I do, surprisingly, and if I don’t walk her every day, I think she’d go a little bit insane. Now, to walk her, I put her on a harness. One reason for this is she will pull me to death if I have her on a regular leash. Another reason is I don’t want to choke the poor girl. The harness is a win-win situation. She can’t pull, and I can’t choke her on accident.

Today, I got dressed with my endless amounts of layers and prepared for the walk. I had my gloves, my scarf, and my hat already on, but for some nagging reason I decided I should change my sweatshirt. So I went upstairs and changed in a matter of a few minutes, and when I came back down, the harness was off of her, on the ground. A piece of it, by the loop where I attach the leash, had ripped in half.

Now, it may seem insignificant, but if I had walked her at the moment I was about to, the harness would have torn outside and she would have gotten God knows how far. I live on a pretty busy street. She could have been hit by a car, or ran straight to Main Street which is even more dangerous. It could have ripped during our thirty minute walk today, or yesterday, or the day before. But it happened today; while she was safe inside.

It confirmed my belief in destiny for a few reasons. One is if I hadn’t had the gut feeling to change my sweatshirt, it would have torn outside and who the hell knows what would have happened. Two- I happened to have a sewing machine to fix it. Three- that little old time in my life where I was (maybe somewhat) miserable, was when I was deciding whether I should pursue fashion design or writing.

It all comes down to this: our past choices lead us to who/where we are today. Even though I decided to pursue writing, my true love, over fashion design, having the skills I acquired in sewing have helped me help a lot of people. It has given me great joy in my life to make collections and show them in fashion shows. I still love designing and sewing. If I never pursued fashion design, I wouldn’t have had a sewing machine today to fix my dog’s harness.

But for me, it was easier to take that route then to admit my true passion, which is writing. When I finally decided to grow some balls and go after what I wanted in life, everything changed. Sure, I had self-published a few books here and there, but I didn’t really commit to writing 100% like I have now.

I realized that in order to make my dreams come true, I had to have the courage to admit what my real dreams were. I had to face the fact that people have told me it’s nearly impossible to make a living as a writer, and they were going to tell me it again, possibly forever. But you know what I tell them? People think everything is impossible. And it is, of course, if you don’t ever try to achieve it.

I don’t think the past is anything to regret. Sure, we’ve all made f#%&ing mistakes. Some may have been pretty bad, or embarrassing. Some may make us cringe every time we think about them. But our past choices lead us to where we are today. And you realize, maybe it wasn’t such a f%^kup after all. Maybe it all happened for a reason.

So I may have lost love, a few times, and I may still be learning how to love myself, but today- I’m going to love what I do. And that makes all the difference. 

The Perks of Being Anti-Social

10 Feb

 

Wait…what? Are there any perks? I often get a little confused when I’m asked: are you an introvert or an extrovert? Because often times, more than 99% of the time, I’m introverted. I prefer to stay home, alone, reading or writing or watching a movie and spending time doing things that I like to do. What a lot of people (who aren’t writers) don’t understand about the writing process is that it takes time; a LOT of time. You can read a book in a day or two, but could you write one that fast? Typically, no.

It takes hours to write 10 pages sometimes. Other times, if you’re really into it, you can write 10 pages in less than two hours. It depends on the flow of the writing. Sometimes you can sit there and stare at a blank page for at least an hour, thinking about butterflies and monkeys, and then remember that you have to write something but you forgot what you wanted to write. Don’t you hate that?

Being introverted doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re anti-social. Sometimes, I’m anti-social by preference. I might just not want to be around other people. I might prefer to be alone, getting things done. But I can also be extroverted, at certain times. If I’m out somewhere and I feel comfortable with the people surrounding me (even if they’re strangers), I can be highly outgoing. But in order for me to be this way, the people around me have to be my type of people. This includes but is not limited to: open-minded, funny, a bit sarcastic, non-judgmental, happy, good people. Other times, in other crowds, I can be quiet as if I don’t even know how to speak. This includes but is not limited to: closed-minded, judgmental, shallow, ignorant people.

Sometimes I just sit back and watch conversations unfold, thinking in my head how I’d hate to be a part of the conversation. I’m usually sitting there with a thought bubble of being home, kicking rocks, and how it’d be a sh#t load more fun than this.

Being stuck in a crowd of strangers can be really appealing at certain times. It can be fun. It can be an experience. You can meet new people, make new acquaintances, learn things, teach things, and just have a good time. Other times, it can be painstakingly awful. So you never know what you’re going to get until you go out and do them.

I used to be much more extroverted before I knew who I was. It was fun seeing all the different types of people out there. But then I realized that a lot of people just aren’t my cup of tea. And I don’t say that to seem above anyone. I am not above anyone. But I do believe there are a lot of people out there, who maybe don’t know who they are yet, or maybe they’re too afraid to be themselves. They then turn to ‘pleasing’ other people, trying to make them laugh with rude jokes or shallow comments. I just can’t co-sign that behavior. Side note: it’s not funny. It’s never funny to make jokes at someone else’s expense.

If you feel like you have to put other people down to get a laugh, maybe you should do some soul searching. Maybe you should try to envision back to when you were a child and had a dream. If you had one, maybe go for it. It’s never too late. If you never had one before, think about what the number one thing you want out of life is, and then go for it.

I have a lot of tattoos. A LOT. The looks I get from certain people are enough to make me think ‘you suck even worse than you think I suck’. As much as I hate to admit it, everyone is going to judge you. By what you wear, what you say, what you do, what piercings/tattoos you have. The trick is realizing that the people who judge you off the bat are people you don’t want in your life anyway. Chances are- they suck!

Isn’t the point of life to be who you are, regardless of what other people think?  That’s the point for me. If it’s not, what’s the point of being alive at all if we’re living for everyone else but ourselves? 

Anthology Submissions & Girls (In the Men’s Bathroom)

8 Feb

I’d like to discuss two things today. One is the fact that this year, I’ve decided it’s high time to start submitting my work to get published.  I’ll keep you all posted. This year’s goal is anthologies. I really need to start putting some work out there. I also want to start writing some more creative non-fiction, so I’m going to quit wanting to do it and just do it already. I’ve had a work in progress, if you can call it that, for a few months now.

Since my house foreclosed, I started thinking about creating a collection of essays of moving moments throughout that intense process. It was emotionally and physically draining, and I thought, yeah, why not? The first few essays have come out really good. And I want to keep moving with this. There is only one thing stopping me- the sequel to my fantasy novel. I have 86 pages right now. I know I need to finish this before I move on to the next project. I know, just sit down and write it already, right!? If I really pushed myself, I could probably finish that within the next month. So that’s my goal. The only problem is once you get even a little sidetracked from your work, it could be a stake through the heart of it. So I’m trying to focus here.

Second, I’d like to bring up the men’s bathroom for a moment. Girls, have you ever used a urinal? Don’t. I’ve been thinking about the time I went to one of my favorite restaurant/bars (they play live classic music, duh), and the girls bathroom was completely flooded. Obviously, I had to pee. Obviously. Obviously this would happen to me because that is just how the f#%&ing cookie crumbles.

I told my girlfriend to make sure no one came in the men’s room while I was in there. Lo and behold- it was a urinal. When you gotta go, you gotta go.

Let’s just say it was an experience.

And no girl should ever have to pee in a men’s urinal. We aren’t…equipped for it. Let’s say it was a lot of balancing followed by cursing.

Side note: I’m quitting smoking. Again. Hello, E-cig! Shut up. I don’t care if it’s “cheating”.

At least I didn’t resort to crack. 

The Natural Speed, Plus Problem Solving Tricks to Getting Sh#t Done.

7 Feb

 

 

B12. I’m going to say it one more time. B12. The Vitamin. Do you like energy but dislike taking drugs? If you like to get things done, have energy, and stay focused, but don’t want to take meth or Adderall, I suggest taking B12 Vitamins.

No, I’m not a paid sponsor. I just enjoy having energy and being able to get sh#t done.

Take a B12 and have some V8. Problem(s) solved!

Of course, this won’t cure the rest of the bullsh#t in your life. So, other problems will not be solved. But maybe you’ll have more energy to decide on things you need to decide on.

Also, while we’re on the subject of vitamins. Take some Vitamin C while you’re at it. Build up that immune system. The flu is going around, fool! Protect yo’self!

Of course, taking B12 and Vitamin C won’t help you actually get things done. You have to sit down and get them done. It has to be a conscious decision. You can’t rely on outside forces and supplements to change you, or motivate you. That has to come from within your deep, dark soul. Ha. Seriously though, I am so sick of people being unmotivated all the time. I know the weather sucks and it’s cold. But who cares, at least there’s not a tsunami happening.

Side note: I just spent a good 30-45 minutes salting the icy death trap leading to my house. I’m pretty sure the mailwoman didn’t deliver our mail today because she didn’t feel like slipping on the ice. I don’t blame her. I can’t lift the heavy bag of salt. So it was an entire back and forth to the car, loading up a pot with salt with a solo cup. Dumping the salt until I ran out. Going back to the car and filling the pot with more salt. And so on. Until the bag was light enough for me to lift.

Things in life happen like this. Problems will present themselves to us. It may seem complicated or impossible, but we have to figure out an alternative solution to get sh#t done.

I once dropped a ring down the sink drain at work. I was alone. No one was there to help me. I didn’t want to be the a$$hole who clogged the bathroom sink with a dollar store ring. So I found a solution. And although I may or may not have been electrocuted in the process, it worked.

We had a vacuum there. It basically ONLY had a long hose to suction sh#t up. So I plugged it in the bathroom, and put the hose on the drain. It sucked the ring right up. Problem solved.

And yes, if you’re wondering, I opened the grimy, dirty bag and got my ring out of the hairy, fuzzy, dirty mess. With my bare hand. Now that is courage. (Joking)

But really, in all seriousness, sh#t happens in life. What are you gonna do, give up when it does? No. We can’t. Because we’re human. We are “capable” of solving things. I use “capable” lightly, because I’ve seen a lot of people get stumped over silly things. I am no natural problem solver by any means. I have never been able to solve a rubik’s cube and I’m f#%&ing amazed when people do. My brothers are so good at putting sh#t together it baffles me. I’m terrible at math. I can’t build a house or even a bookshelf. But things that I am capable of doing, I do them. Because I’m not incapable of doing them. And that’s that.

Sh#t happens. If your worst problem of the day is that you ran out of conditioner while you were in the shower, your life doesn’t suck even though in that moment you think it does. If you ran out of socks, use a dirty pair. Who cares. 

Don’t look at life like it’s so hard that it’s nearly impossible. Because if it was easy and perfect, it wouldn’t be nearly as interesting. And we’d have nothing to write about.