The inevitable anniversary blog

It’s been a year. Since I graduated from college, that is. That fact is so hard to believe.

marci, catherine and me

From the right, my friend Marci, my roommate, Catherine, and me. We met at our pre-orientation and ended up being in a lot of classes together since we were all English students. This was taken before the big ceremony. No one looks good in academic livery, but we didn’t do too bad. 

In many ways, it still feels like I’ve been on an extended break, that I’m still waiting for the call from my university, wondering why I haven’t come back to finish up my studies. But I did finish and I do have the diploma, and now I have a year’s worth of work, interview, and writing experience I couldn’t have seen coming. And through all of that, I’ve learned a lot. The following list is not a list of things I’ve learned and then moved on, it’s more of a summing up of bits and pieces that have been reinforced to me over and over during this first year in the “real world”.

  1. There will be twists and turns you won’t expect. And things will not go your way.  Learn to be okay with that.
    I’m not going to get into too much detail here, but suffice it to say that the dreams I had of getting the perfect job and moving away from home right after I returned from school did not happen. There have been so many days that I’ve beaten myself up because I feel like it’s my fault that I am not where I want to be in life right now. While I know that sounds stupid (and it kinda is), it’s also an understandable reaction. People’s dreams sometimes take a long time to come true, if they ever come true at all. And while that’s discouraging, being upset about it doesn’t help anything. So if you ever feel sad because you don’t feel like you’re where you’re supposed to be in life, it’s okay to be sad, but don’t let that sadness weigh you down. Use that sadness as fuel to keep going. You can do it, even if you don’t think you can.
  2. Celebrate your successes, even the little ones.
    It can be easy, especially when you’re just starting out, to ignore the successes you do have because they are not the kinds of successes you’re aiming for. Success involves a lot of plodding along on a path that will eventually take you where you want to go. It’s so dumb and demoralizing that (at least in the U.S.) we have this idea that success occurs in a shoot-to-the-moon kind of fashion and that once you are deemed “a success”, you better do all you can to hold on to that title and that validation. While those stories make for interesting fodder for Hollywood, I’d safely wager that if you ask any successful person, they’d tell you just how long and how difficult a journey it was. So celebrate your little successes, because that means you’re one step closer.
  3. The key to being thankful is being observant.
    Noticing the little things and taking the time to be thankful for them is almost, maybe even more important thank being grateful for the big things.
  4. Getting an interview doesn’t mean you have to take the job, if they even offer it to you.
    Since I started my job search late last May, I’ve had several in-person and phone interviews for different jobs. The one thing that has been consistent with all of those interviews was the fact that I got incredibly anxious about moving and how I would handle the job before the interview even happened. While it’s important to be well-informed about the job, what you’ll be doing, and where you will potentially be living, it’s also important to keep yourself calm and not to get ahead of yourself. While getting an interview is a good sign, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to get the job or that you’re going to have to figure everything out at the drop of a hat. Take everything as it comes and don’t try to climb the mountain before you’ve even arrived at its base.
  5. There are some things school hasn’t and couldn’t prepare you for.
    School, like everything in life, is a mix of the mundane and the magnanimous. It’s only now that I’ve been out of school that I realize just how much of school I found boring, even though I know I’ve been incredibly lucky to attend school at all. I’ve also realized that, though school feels like it finishes your education, it really is only the beginning. I remember my Victorian lit professor telling us that when we were discussing the influence of England’s universities on the writers of that period. He said something like, “The end of our formal education is only the beginning, which is why they call graduation commencement.”

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little reflection of my time out of the education system. If you have any school/life stories you’d like to share, please do! Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, stepmothers, godmothers, and mothers-to-be!

 

Years and raining blossoms

Hi, everyone. I’ve had two realizations this week and it’s only Tuesday. The first is that it’s April and April means it’s National Poetry Month and I haven’t put up a single poem yet. The second is that, as of tomorrow, I will have been keeping this blog for an entire year. That is bananas. This time last year, I was a college senior struggling to keep it together long enough to graduate. And now, well, I’m still struggling, but I’ve been able to write and do work that I am grateful to do. I just want to say thanks for reading and sticking around, everyone. Here’s to hopefully many more years of blogging! And now, without further ado, here is a poem to celebrate National Poetry Month.

They say that, when the blossoms rain early,

the sky is not too far behind,

that the days will stretch out

and then shrink back in on themselves

again, reaching

for the blackness

that, summer or winter,

is always there,

after the sun sets

and before the dawn.

I wonder about that night

before the dawn,

if it feels neglected since people

almost always want it gone.

Or if it doesn’t care

and shines forth regardless,

casting the sky in crowds of stars.

Some time,

I will stop wondering

and start wandering

and seek the answers

to the world,

to the darkness,

the light,

and the everything in between,

myself.

 

Thoughts on finishing a first draft

Guys. IT’S DONE! The first draft of the novel I’ve been working on since last June is done, as of 10:19 p.m last night. Huzzah!

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Courtesy of Tumblr.

I can’t believe it’s done but at the same time, I’m so glad it is. I feel slightly less relieved than when I turned in my thesis, which was when I felt the most relieved I’ve ever been about finishing anything. At the same time, I miss it already and I feel like, with a lot of work ahead, it could be something good.

This isn’t the first first draft I finished. I finished the 188 page mess of a first draft of a different novel on New Year’s Eve in 2009. This one is 275 pages and is still a mess, but so much less so, it seems. Maybe it’s because I let myself work on the scenes I wanted to work when I wanted to work on them. Perhaps it’s because I’m not 15 any more, as I was when I finished my first initial draft of that other story. I know so much more about writing and about myself and maybe that’s what has made all the difference between that first story, which was so difficult to write, and this one, which was much easier to handle.

I’m sorry if this doesn’t make much sense. My brain is still so addled from finishing it. But I just wanted you to know that the first draft is done and you’ll no doubt be hearing more about it as I revise and eventually send it out into the world. But first, it’s time for a break to pursue some other projects.

That’s all for today, loves.

 

My friend, St. Patrick

Hello, everyone! I’ve been trying to think of a way to blog about the past few weeks. Nothing’s been wrong, but there’s been a lot going on. A funeral. A wedding. My first event as a photographer. A fitting for a bridesmaid dress. A lot of work and a lot of editing. Working on the first draft that is a few pages away from being done (I think.) But since I can’t  seem to find the words to adequately express my thoughts on all of this, I thought I’d talk about St. Patrick instead, since it is, after all, his feast day.

Image result for st patrick

A beautiful icon of St. Patrick. Photo courtesy of stpatswichita.org

St. Patrick is one of my favorite saints. You can read more about his life here since I do a terrible job of trying to sum up people’s lives in a few sentences. I think the quality I most admire in him, aside from his unyielding faith, is the fact that he was able to keep going despite the hardships. He grew closer to God after he’d been captured by the raiders, joyfully returned home after daring the perils of escape, and was brave enough to return to Ireland when asked in a dream. He was able to roll with the punches and keep trusting God and doing his work. Though we’ll never know what private struggles Patrick had, the fact that he was able to keep going and to keep spreading the faith is just amazing. The results of his ministry can still be seen in Ireland today and will be around for some years to come, God willing. Patrick’s persistence and zeal are incredibly inspiring, especially to someone like me, who has a tendency to struggle to keep being faithful when things get rough. And it has been a struggle, for quite some time now.

St. Patrick is someone I think everyone, whatever they believe, can be inspired by. I pray that this great saint blesses the world with his faithful persistence. I’ll be back soon. God bless you.

P.S. Below is one of my favorite songs from the wonderful Irish duo, Makem and Clancy.

P.S.S. I had another story come out last week. You can read it here. This one was my senior English thesis for college so I’m incredibly proud that it has found a literary home. Please read it and let me know what you think.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Never too much reassurance

It’s okay

don’t listen

when they say

you have to have it all figured out

because the journey

doesn’t end

when it’s yours to win.

That’s when it all begins.

 

Hey, lovelies. I just wanted to put up a little poem I wrote a few weeks ago. I hope everything’s going well for you. I have a crazy couple of weeks ahead of me but I’ll be blogging a little more once things are done. Hang in there, everyone.

Something I saved and forgot about but needed

Hi, everyone. I was randomly looking through my bookmarks on my computer and I found something I stashed away and forgot about. But sometimes the things we find randomly are the things we need the most and that is definitely the case with this article. It’s called “To Anyone Who Thinks They’re Falling Behind in Life.” You can read it here.

This is definitely something I’ve been struggling with, especially lately. I hope it helps you, along with this song from a new musical entitled “Dear Evan Hansen.” It’s about an anxious teen trying to deal with the social pressures of high school and the lyrics are tremendously and scary accurately written. Check out the other songs from this musical, they’re great.

 

We’ll be alright, guys. We can do it.

A wee little story

Ahoy, everyone. Today’s post is just a tiny one to tell you that I’ve got a new story out! The marvelous folks at 101 Words published one of my stories and you can read it here. Theirs is a fantastic website full of amazing, bite-sized stories. A huge thank you to them for publishing a story about a struggle of mine.

Do let me know what you think about it! I will see ya’ll soon!