I wasn’t sure what kind of post to start 2018 with, and after much dilly-dallying with different ideas, I just decided to make this a check in, which will cover some really random stuff. Hi there. I hope the not-so-new year has been kind to you all. It’s been an interesting one so far.
- The most interesting thing that’s happened so far is that I’ve learned more about what makes me who I am. Literally. I bought my mom a DNA test for Christmas last year and we finally got it ready to go at the beginning of December. We used the 23 and Me test, for those of you who care about that kind of thing and both my mom and I are so pleased with their service and how they present their findings. I bought the test because she’s always been curious if she had Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry and the test confirmed her hunch. We were also staggered to discover that a small portion of our DNA comes from Scandinavia (it looks like Finland, specifically) and Northern Russia. The test also showed that, though my mother’s DNA is predominantly European, way far back, we come from the Middle East and Africa. It’s been really interesting to learn more about DNA and the tools and information that are available to help people learn about where they come from. If you’re looking for a DNA test, I highly recommend 23 and Me.
- I’ve started tracking my daily writing progress, which I’ve never done before. My best friend and former roommate gave me a special calendar for Christmas and out of the blue, I decided to use it to track my writing progress, not only for the novel I’m working on, but also for short stories, articles, and other writing projects. So far it’s been helpful in making sure I get stuff done and also helping me prove to myself that I do more work than I think I do. I don’t know why, but it’s astonishingly easy for me to make myself think that I don’t work as much as I should. Having this calendar has helped me to realize just how much I do and to be more conscious of the time it takes me to do it in.
This is what this month’s page looks like so far. Please excuse my bad handwriting. If I decide to continue this in the future, I definitely need to learn to write smaller or to get a calendar with bigger boxes.
- At last, I heard back from some editors that I sent different pieces to, so be on the lookout for more things being added to my writing page. I’m really excited about these two pieces, since they’re different from what I’ve had published so far. That’s all I’m going to say for now. 🙂
- I finally saw Star Wars VIII. I was a little afraid that I wouldn’t like it, but I did! It was different than I thought it would be, which is not necessarily a bad thing. There’s too much to go into here, but suffice it to say that I think this installment in the trilogy is not just a good addition to an already amazing canon of films but it provides a good springboard into episode IX. We’ll see where they decide to take the story next.
- Charles Dickens has been hard core stalking me from beyond the grave. Ha, in rereading that sentence, it sounds like he is the Marley to my Scrooge. No, I don’t mean that kind of haunting. I just mean that he’s showing up a lot in my life. It started when I started watching the TV show “Dickensian” last month (trailer is linked here.) It’s a fantastic show, which I want to watch again and again. The one bad thing about that show is that it’s made me realize just how ignorant of Dickens I am. I’ve only read Great Expectations and have seen “Bleak House”, “Little Dorrit”, and “Oliver Twist”. I’d really like to get more into his work. I think I’m going to start with Hard Times, simply because it’s one of his slimmer works. Plus the opening paragraph is amazing in terms of establishing character. Let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions as to which of his works I should read.
- Should I get an Instagram? I’ve been thinking about that question off an on since I got my phone last year. I’m really on the fence about it. On the one hand, I think it would be quite fun, especially to tie it in with this blog. On the other, I’m afraid I wouldn’t be too good at keeping up with it. If you have any ideas, let me know.
That’s about it for now. Sorry it’s been so long and for the rambling nature of this post. There will be lots more to come soon, you can be sure. Bye for now, everyone!
P.S. I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten a lot more email subscribers in the past few weeks. Thank you for signing up! Welcome!
You said I had beauty
the beauty of me.
kind of beauty matters,
the beauty found within,
but I’m not sure
Even the holiest of holies
and what is more holy
than a heart and soul?
I say, next time,
don’t give me a half-compliment.
Love the full me
or get out of my sanctuary.
I hadn’t written a rage at my exes poem in a while.
Working in a library,
you feel fairly safe.
There’s a desk between you
and those you help.
When you shelve,
there’s a cart
you can easily shove into people
and there are
scads of stacks you can pull from
to find a weapon
should you need one.
(I recommend the
But the only thing
protect you from
are their stares.
Lonely, lustful, vacant, bored,
their eyes will chew you
and spit you up
so that you can feel
disgusting and dirty
though no one has touched you.
Written after a long, difficult day at work during which I was stared at a lot.
“If music be the food of love, play on.”
Even though the music
has stopped for now,
don’t let love starve.
Dedicated to the people of Las Vegas.
So we haven’t done one of these in ages. The readings for this Sunday (read them here) were especially poignant considering all the terrible things going on here in the United States concerning race, racial ideologies, and hatred. The pastor of my parish preached a fantastic homily about how hatred and pre-judgement of any kind alienates us from God’s kingdom because anything that comes from God does not divide, but unites.
One line that particularly struck me from the second reading is “For the gifts and call of God are irrevocable.” There’s just something that’s so beautiful and yet terrifying about the gifts and call of God being irrevocable. Terrifying in that at times it feels like we can’t live out God’s call or are afraid to use the gifts he’s given us. But so beautiful in that despite all our fears, reluctance, and stubbornness, he isn’t going to take them back. And he isn’t going to leave us when we don’t follow his call how he might want us to, or if we stray a little too far, “…for he has said ‘I will never forsake you or abandon you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
His call and his gifts are for all. No qualifications or even willingness needed. His arms and his heart are always open, we need only reach out. And that is so important to remember, especially in such troubled times.
I hope the skies are sunny where ever you are today. God bless.
“Life piles up so fast that I have no time to write out the equally fast rising mound of reflections.”–Virginia Woolf.
This quote has described many phases in my life, particularly in college, but seems especially salient right now. There’s been so much going on that I’ve barely been able to talk to my parents or think, let alone blog about things. I’ve also realized that I don’t do short posts about what’s going on with me. I do posts about bigger things such as questions or struggles that I’m having, but I don’t write about the day to day stuff. So here’s a little bit about the day to day stuff. A few of the things on this list aren’t small, but it’s been usually busy lately. Hopefully things will slow down now.
- I got promoted at work! I’m going to be a full time reference clerk! It’s going to be incredibly different from my work in the children’s department. I was really unsure about it at first but as I’ve been trained, I’ve become less and less scared and more and more excited. I’ll get to build different skills and work with different people. I start the new job at the end of this month and we’ll see how this goes.
- Two of my best friends got married to each other! Remember the wedding I told you I was going to be in? If you don’t, I don’t blame you, since I told you about it back in November. That was this past weekend! I’ve been so blessed to watch these two go from friends to good friends to being a couple to now being married. It’s been such a joy, so much so that I don’t think I’ll be able to process all my thoughts and feelings about it for quite some time. I’ve already warned the bride that I’ll probably call her up in October and be like “YOU GOT MARRIED???? WHAT THE HECK???” Congratulations, Miles and Abigail!
- I got my first smart phone recently. I got my first cell phone in 2012 and I got a different phone last year and I’ve hated it ever since. I’ve been wanting to upgrade to a smart phone and this seemed like a good time to do it. It’s been an interesting experience so far. While it’s been an incredibly helpful communication tool, I can already tell that it can quickly become an obsession and a necessity, as so many people view their phones these days. I’m trying hard not to let that happen, but at the same time I’m curious as to what this technology has to offer.
- I’ve been listening to musicals more recently and I forgot how much I love musical theater. Ever since the Tonys I’ve been on a musical kick. I’ve been listening to Hamilton more and I’ve lately gotten into Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812. Dear Evan Hansen is next, but I’m waiting until things have settled down with me before jumping into a soundtrack that has already made me cry and I’ve only listened to three songs. Definitely give all these shows a listen if you haven’t.
- George Bernard Shaw is a fantastic playwright. I’ve been doing a lot of rereading lately and toward the middle/end of June, I really wanted to re-experience a play that I saw in college, called Arms and the Man. Though I hadn’t read it, it was amazing to read the script for it and to remember how wonderful that production was. I was struck again just how witty and how precise he is in his use of language and development of character. I’m reading Saint Joan now and I love it.
So that’s a little about some of the many things going on in my life. I’m going to try to blog more often and to be a little more open and honest about what’s going on in my life on this blog. I hope you all are doing well. Bye for now.
It’s been a year. Since I graduated from college, that is. That fact is so hard to believe.
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”.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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
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.
I will stop wondering
and start wandering
and seek the answers
to the world,
to the darkness,
and the everything in between,
Hello and an incredibly belated Happy New Year to everyone. I’ve been meaning to post for a while, but if you’ve been following this blog for more than a little while, you’ve probably noticed that blogging is the first thing that gets thrown to the wayside when life gets crazy. I’m going to work on that, I promise. To bring everyone up to speed with what’s been going on in my life, here’s a list of 17 things I’ve learned so far in 2017.
- I really need to fix my sleep schedule.
It’s kinda ridiculous how much this needs to happen and how long I’ve been putting it off.
- Being immersed in a writing project is one of the most amazing, forgiving things.
I’m heading toward the finish line with my current manuscript. It’s been an exciting, difficult, but totally rewarding process and I’m eager to keep working on it and make it better.
- While I consider myself a good writer, I know I’ll never write anything as remotely cool as Hamilton.
I finally finished listening to the whole soundtrack on Monday. I cried three times. Favorite songs right now are “Wait for it”, “Dear Theodosia”, and “History has its eyes on you.”
- In a time of quick action and loud protests, contemplative silence and calm listening can be subversive but necessary acts.
I’m not going to say too much about this, but let’s just say I’m an American who doesn’t like joining in on flame wars on social media. That should tell you all you need to know. More importantly, listening and observing what’s going on can be just as crucial as reacting to current events, when direct action is not mandatory, of course.
- Watching a dog learn to play with toys is fun.
We bought Pongo a tug of war toy when we first got him. He’s shown no interest in it until now since I took it into my head to try to channel his biting habit into something that doesn’t end up with me covered in dog slime. It’s worked really well and he’s becoming really protective of it. It’s adorable.
6.Manga is amazing both as an art form and a method of storytelling.
I started reading Library Wars when I saw it on the “To be shelved” cart at work and I picked up the first three volumes and immediately loved them. It’s a story set in an alternate future in which censorship has become the norm under law except for libraries and the librarians who staff them. The fight for censorship has become so vehement that a library defense force was created, an organization that Iku Kasahara has wanted to join since she encountered one of the defense agents in high school. Though she’s much too opinionated and clumsy to be totally suited to military life, her passion and verve see her through. It’s a funny, upbeat, and surprisingly deep series that makes me smile no matter what. Definitely check it out!
Photo credited to amazon.com.
7.Time doesn’t owe us anything.
I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately. Toward the new year, it seemed like everyone was so ready for 2016 to end. And I can understand why. It was a tough year on a number of levels. But for all the bad that happened, there was good that happened, as well. Despite all the bad things, now more than ever, we need to recognize good things when we see them because they are the things worth fighting for. Also, time doesn’t owe us anything, as I said earlier. The only thing time owes to humanity is to keep going. It’s the ultimate soldier, it just keeps marching on. And if it stops, that’s it, for Time and for us.
What have you learned this year so far? Feel free to let me know in the comments. As previously mentioned, I’m really into my current project right now (for more details, read this). I will try to maintain a somewhat normal cycle of blogging, but we’ll see how it goes. Thanks for sticking with me, lovely people.
Hello, everyone. Once again, I must apologize for the lack of posts. If I thought October was a crazy month, November has snatched that award away and set it on its shelf.
A bunch of things have happened that I’m still sorting through. I’ve been really stressed about many things, to the point that sometimes the best I can do is just not think and just try to be as calm as possible (which is much more difficult than it sounds.) I had two job interviews and received my first job offer (which I ended up turning down for financial reasons.) The election happened and if we all thought it was interesting and anxiety-inducing before, it’s only gotten worse (at least for me, but I’m trying to stay as positive as I can.)
While that might not seem like much, it’s been difficult to deal with. But in all this darkness, there have been many patches of light to keep me moving forward. Like getting to cook all day and spend time with family yesterday (a belated Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.) My best friend asked me to be her bridesmaid (she’s getting married next summer.) I received a surprise visit from another best friend and we got to talk about a lot of things (love you, Jasmine.) I got to take a road trip with my Dad, got to see some new places, and got to admire God’s beautiful creation from the view of a car window (I have a habit of staring out windows whenever I travel.) I got to eat grapes with my brother at one in the morning (because when you don’t have to go to work the next morning and you and your sibling want fruit, why not?) I’ve made significant progress on my first draft thanks to NaNoWriMo (but not as much progress as I thought I would.) I’ve gotten to grow closer to my characters through working on their story and building their world (I love them so much, though I don’t think they’d love me if they met me because of what I’m putting them through.) I’ve received quite a bit of writing encouragement from people who have known me and who have supported me and it’s been humbling and beautiful (hello, lovely people. You know who you are.)
So yes, there have been many ups and downs of late. Forgive the rambling nature of this post. I felt so awful that I haven’t been writing here lately that I was desperate to post something. More is on the way, everyone. Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for giving me your attention. The fact that people are reading my words baffles and humbles me and I hope you know that I am so thankful for you. You’re amazing. Bye for now.