Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday to that time where I wrote all the words.

Are you ready for the weekend?

(c) 2019. All rights reserved.

Throwback Thursday

Because I’m tired from fighting a migraine all week, I’m taking it easy today. In the meantime, here are a few things from my archives that you might enjoy:

You should also check out this year’s team of Tiny Peppers, because they’re all pretty awesomesauce.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go crawl into bed and stay there. But do please share with me what and who you’re reading in the comments so that, when I feel better, I have new things to read!

(c) 2019. All rights reserved.

Time capsule inspiration

The University of California in Santa Barbara has done something wonderful, and I had completely forgotten about it until about a month ago.

I’ve had this short story sitting on my hard drive now for about three years (and yes, short is a relative term), and I finally had both the time and the inclination to get back to working on it. It went through one round of revisions after I’d initially written it, but it’s been so long since I’ve read through it, let alone actually worked on it, that I decided to go back to my standard revision practice of recopying the entire MS and making changes as I went. When I’m done, I’ll type it up and make a few more changes as I type.

But my revision process is beside the point.

Anyway, one of the focal points of the story is…

It pays to be prepared…

A great singer once said, “You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, and know when to run,” and those words flitted through my brain as I headed up to the mic with my tablet in hand. I hadn’t planned to run, though I had considered running in the opposite direction. And I managed not to trip over all the cords, so that was a bonus.

“Our next reader says she’s livin’ the dream, so she may be sleepwalking up here!”

I reached the mic, smiling at the intro. “Well, I don’t sleepwalk, but I have been known to talk in my sleep, so here goes nothing.”

And then I set my tablet down. Three lines into the poem I’d planned to read, the screen went black. I don’t like public speaking, but I seem to keep finding myself doing it, even when I don’t mean to. And when I’m in front of people, it doesn’t take much to get me flustered, so a malfunctioning tablet was sure to do the trick.

I was prepared for that, though. My tablet’s battery was already low—and getting lower—when I arrived at the Hearst Center, but I hadn’t had time to print off a copy of what I planned to read because I hadn’t decided exactly what that would be until after I arrived. While I was preparing my reading, someone asked me if I trusted my tablet to see me through, and when I glanced at how much battery remained, I decided it would be smart to have a backup plan.

So three lines into a thirty-nine-line poem, my tablet crapped out. Evidently I set it down on the end with the power button, which turned the whole thing off. Not to worry—I whipped my phone out of my back pocket and continued reading without missing a beat. It made my intro feel even more fitting.

And it all worked out in the end. Several people told me how much they’d liked what I read, and a couple of people (including the MC) commented about how seamless my recovery was. What can I say? I have a history of quick recovery when it comes to technical difficulties. Once, in sixth grade, we did a project where we had to do a mock radio broadcast. As we went to play our musical selection, my tape deck hiccupped. Without even thinking, I said, “We are experiencing technical difficulties—please stand by,” and my co-host went into commercial. I can’t be sure anymore, but I think he completely ad-libbed the commercial, and we ended up doing really well on the project.

Nothing like quick thinking to save your bacon.

If only all of life’s hiccups were that small, things would be pretty good. But that doesn’t mean that a little preparation and a bit of quick thinking can’t still save you when things aren’t going your way. Patience and persistence are both vital ingredients when it comes to making your own good luck, and while I may not be the most patient person in the world (far from it, in fact), I am certainly one of the most persistent. Some may argue that stubborn is a better word for it, but sometimes in life, you have to be stubborn in order to get what you want.

It’s like Don Schlitz said all along: You gotta know when to hold ‘em. Know when to fold ‘em.

And just keep swimming.

What about you? Do you enjoy being in front of a crowd, or would you prefer not to?

(c) 2019. All rights reserved.

It’s that time of the year again…

Today is November 1 and you know what that means…It’s time to get crazy!

Crazy like a writer, that is.

That’s write (see what I did there? 😊), today begins NaNoWriMo, which for some crazy reason I decided to try again this year. But I haven’t written a word on my novel yet today, and I probably won’t, which is going to put me at a startling deficit when tomorrow rolls around.

Don’t get me wrong—I’ve written plenty of words today. I’ve probably even hit the magical 1,667 mark. But the words I wrote weren’t for any personal projects, so alas, they don’t count.

November 1 also means that NaBloPoMo has begun in earnest, which I’m hoping will get me back on track when it comes to my dearly-beloved-yet-sadly-neglected, wordy home here on the interwebs. But with my friends at #TeamTinyPeppers cheering me on, I’m sure I can get back in the swing of things this time.

Because willpower—I has it. Sometimes. If food isn’t involved. 😊

So what about you? Are you participating in any of this month’s writerly activities? I want to hear all about what’s going on with you down in the comments!

(c) 2019. All rights reserved.

The one where she feels totally embarrassed…

…because holy cats, has it been a while since I’ve posted! Like, a ridiculously long while! If anyone’s still hanging around, what’s new with you?

For me, I FINALLY finished my BA in May. Woooo! It was an exciting semester for me for a variety of reasons, and I’ve got pictures to prove it. In March, my bestie and I road-tripped down to St. Louis so I could present a paper at the annual Sigma Tau Delta conference. It was so much fun! I wish we could have been there for all the opening ceremonies, but I had to work that day. :/ There were a ton of awesome panels, including mine, which was all about John Milton.  Some of the other amazing panels I attended were on Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, VIrginia Woolf, and James Joyce. So! Many! Fun! Things!

I also attended a fascinating talk given by Nnedi Okorafor, and I’m now well into reading her Binti series. Sooo good.

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But after two years of hardcore writing and studying, I needed a little break. My brain hurt. My hands hurt. And then we moved, and EVERYTHING hurt. But things at Casa Kauffman seem to have settle down for now…just in time for school to start up again. :’) :’)

It’s been a long day, though, and I’m feeling a little run down, so I’m gonna spend a little time with the ones I love. After all, that’s what’s really important, right?

So here’s to new beginnings and new adventures! I’ll see you around!

(c) 2019. All rights reserved.

On thinking

I think in other people’s words. I think in movie lines and song lyrics and passages from books. Sometimes, I even think in advertising slogans. Often, I think in sound bytes.

Why?

It’s quite simple, really. Thinking in someone else’s words is so much easier than thinking in my own. Thinking in other people’s words is safer, less painful. It keeps me from having to dig deep, from having to face uncomfortable possibilities.

Thinking in other people’s words keeps me from really getting to know myself. And therein lies the problem.

If I never dig deep enough to find out who I am, do I really exist? If  I think in other people’s words, am I a real person, or simply a copy of a thousand other selves? A clone?

To think in other people’s thoughts is to blend into the background, to be an indistinguishable part of the whole. I contain multitudes, but I don’t stand out from them.

Sometimes it’s necessary to stand out, to stand on one’s own. But by thinking in someone else’s thoughts, I keep myself chained to a pole, unable to stand on my own.

I am a sapling in a biosphere, immune to the wind…until the transparent sphere falls away. Then I will fall, for my roots are shallow and weak.

I think in other people’s thoughts, but I really ought to stop. My own thoughts have value and meaning, and it’s time I recognized that fact. It’s time I came up with a few thoughts of my own.

If I want to leave my mark on the world, I won’t be able to rely on other people’s thoughts.

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.

Brain dump

They move in the mist,
Creatures of old-time myths.

***

She clung to the cup.
Her frigid fingers curled round the paper,
Desperate to draw
The last ounce of warmth
From the lukewarm liquid sloshing inside
As she scurried from building to building
In the bitter fall rain.

***

I want to be the next Great American Novelist.
I want to write great litrashure.
“You’re a great writer. You just have to find your story.”

***

I’ve been writing in fits and starts for three months now. In a burst of inspiration, I jot down the brilliance (because let’s face it – when you’re a writer and the spirit moves you, it (whatever it may be) is always brilliant) that comes into my head like medieval grace. But then, hours or days or sometimes weeks later, when I return to it, the grace is gone, and I can no longer remember where I was going with what I had written.

Not having finished anything is starting to really irritate me. The only things I’ve managed to finish writing have been for class assignments, and those were only finished with much wailing and gnashing of teeth as the deadline approached (and occasionally, as it whooshed by).

I imagine it’s going to get worse before it gets better, what with taking more classes next semester than I did this semester, and I suppose I’m going to have to accept that fact. I wish I hadn’t been so dumb the first time I did college. I wish I hadn’t let fear of failure rule my life. I was afraid I’d never make new friends, I was afraid my relationship would wither and die and I’d be all alone in the great big world, a little girl playing at being a grown-up. I think I was also afraid of success and sabotaged myself before I had the chance to succeed.

They say hindsight is 20/20, and they’re definitely right, but I wish I hadn’t always had to do things the hard way. Hopefully I won’t continue to always do things the hard way.

College in your thirties is definitely hard, especially when there are so many things you want to do that you can’t because you have a family and a job and so many things that require your attention. College in my twenties would have been so much simpler. Even if I still couldn’t have done all the things I wanted to do, at least the demands on my time were fewer.

Thank goodness, I guess, that I’m a self-directed learner.

Also, thank goodness for caffeine. Because without it, there is no way I’d have made it through this semester and no way I could make it through the upcoming ones.

All glory to caffeine! 😀

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.

Picture Perfect

Practice your ballerina hands, the email said, without much clarification on how to do that.

I looked down at my hands. They were frying pan hands, and the Teflon was peeling.

Practice pointing your toes like a ballerina, the email said. But I’m no ballerina, and all my practice was futile.

Practice smiling genuinely, the email said. At last, something I could do! But when I looked in the mirror, all I could see was the ruby nightmare that framed my face and glittered beneath the bright white vanity lights.

So much for that idea, I thought.

I took a deep breath and tried again. This time, instead of imagining…