Welcome to Monday. Hopefully yours is going well.
I didn't get as many words on the page this weekend as I wanted to, mostly because Thursday I fell down the rabbit hole that is tap videos on YouTube, Friday was my friend's birthday, and watched Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World something like five times this weekend because I'd rented it Friday from Amazon. (They give you three days with it and you can watch it as many times as you want.)
I could wax poetic about that movie's classical score. Fun fact: I wrote a good chunk of LADY OF SHERWOOD while listening to Boccherini's La Musica Notturna Delle Strade di Madrid, No. 6, Op.30. (I might do a classical music writing playlist post later, if anybody's interested.) There is, actually, a lot about this movie I could wax poetically about - mostly because I'm a huge Age of Sail fan - and the man who directed this film also directed my favorite movie of all time, Dead Poets Society.
That is a whole other set of posts right there, and we'll be here forever if you let me get going.
Back, however, to the tap YouTube rabbit hole. For those of you who might be a little new to following me, I started taking an adult tap dance class in September 2016. Tap's always been one of my favorite forms of dance, and something I had always wanted to learn. When I moved to Buffalo, I decided to just go for it, found a studio that offered adult classes at a very reasonable price, and gave it a whirl.
I love it.
Not only am I taking tap again this year, I decided to try jazz, too. (That's a little more outside my wheelhouse, but it's still fun and definitely challenging in different ways than tap.) One other result of this is that I occasionally wander down a rabbit hole on YouTube.
These are a couple of my favorites.
I listen to a lot of different things when I write, it really depends on what I'm working on, the mood of the scene, and the character.
I've always swapped out Pandora for Spotify, and listening to music in the apartment has gotten 250% better. My gym playlist is also called Five Mile Truffle Shuffle and I'm giving all of you who get that reference a billion thumbs up. For those who don't, The Goonies is an excellent movie, and I highly recommend it.
Anyway, you're here for the music. So let's get to that.
I am absolutely terrible when it comes to certain things. New Year's Resolutions. Blog posts. The usual.
This is a post about unofficial resolutions.
The 2017 holiday season was difficult in places. There was a lot going on behind the scenes, and I was miserably sick New Year's Eve weekend. The last thing anyone wants to do while they're tucked on the couch watching episode after episode of Say Yes to the Dress is figure out resolutions to go into 2018 with and break within the first two months.
I'll stick with little goals. Things like
- Reading diversely
- Take chances (good ones)
- Keep improving my rock climbing abilities
- Finish another novel (maybe more than one)
- Remember to take good care of me
- Carpe this diem and live life wide open
It's not an exhaustive list, but it's definitely a place to start.
No news yet on the query front, and we all know patience isn't exactly my strong suit. Here's hoping, anyway.
On the personal front, well....this should sum it up nicely. (And no, we weren't official or anything, but the sentiment is the same.)
I'll probably do a list of songs that I've been writing to this upcoming week. In the meantime, have a good weekend.
Hope & Kindness,
Hope you've all had a good week and that whatever work you're doing isn't stressing you out too badly. If, like me, you live in the Northeast, we've been dealing with high temperatures and ridiculously high humidity. Thankfully, earlier this week, the weather's finally broken, and at least in New York it finally - FINALLY - feels like fall.
Which makes today the perfect day to enjoy some time outside (if it's not raining). For me, that means it's the perfect day for soccer.
My Mama's visiting for the weekend, and later today we'll be going into Toronto to watch Toronto FC take on the New York Red Bulls. Neither of us have ever seen the Red Bulls play in person, though we've been to their Harrison, NJ stadium to watch other teams play (the 2011 MLS All-Star game against Manchester United, and then the US Women's National Team when they played South Korea). We've watched them play on TV a number of times - and Mama really likes them - so this should be a really fun game.
There should, of course, be all sorts of shenanigans because the two of us can't really go anywhere without there being shenanigans (though it's nowhere near as bad as H and I wandering someplace, just the two of us).
Mama on the train to BMO Field in Toronto, back in March. Though, honestly, it's probably going to be this cold tonight, too.
I hope your weekend is fun and fantastic, and I'll catch you soon.
Hope & Kindness,
Greetings from the other side of summer!
Most of you are probably looking at me like where have you been? I've been mostly here in Buffalo, NY, and occasionally in Toronto specifically or Ontario in general. Sometimes even back to Seneca Lake.
Summer is also peak construction season, so I've been a tad bit busy at work as we shade into back-to-school and early fall. Speaking of fall, is anybody else as excited for the change in season as I am? I am so ready for layers and flannel and boots and scarves and turning leaves and cool breezes! (I might be zealously ready for fall. Seriously. Let's go.)
Because I've been so terrible at blogging (which is on the to-do list to get better at), let's recap some adventures. (Also, if you're not following me on twitter I would suggest it, because that's where I document a majority of my daily shenanigans.)
I had my first ever Barnes & Noble book signing back in June. I kept the poster from this event and framed it.
My friend Lydia and I had a sweet and colorful Sunday Funday this summer. We'd both had a rough week (and I'd watched a ton of icing videos on Tumblr) and this was the result of an afternoon of baking and decorating.
The eclipse! We weren't in the path of totality (but we will be for the next one) and nobody had eclipse glasses, but when you work in construction, there's usually a welding helmet or two lying around.
This was M's first trip to Toronto (her first time on both a train and a subway) and her first MLS game. We had a ton of fun, and TFC had a 4-0 win against San Jose.
There's also been some extra trips to Rochester to hang out with family and friends, and coming up in a few weeks is my cousin's wedding. So I get to dress up and have a grand old time for that.
Stay on the lookout for dance updates, too. This year I'm climbing even more out of my comfort zone and taking jazz in addition to tap. Jazz is way not in my wheelhouse, but it is fun, and my instructor is very glad that I'm taking her class.
Thanks for sticking with me.
Hope & Kindness,
It's me. Well, it's you, technically, all grown up. Or as grown up as we wanna claim on a regular basis, which, considering our favorite food is still mac and cheese and chicken nuggets, maybe we'll never officially grow up.
Sometimes we eat ice cream for dinner. That's pretty cool.
Come sit by me. I've got some things to tell you.
First, even twenty years later, you still occasionally make this face. Not so much for funny face pictures anymore, but because sometime things don't go according to plan. We're still cute, though. Promise.
Do you remember that time we were in Barnes & Noble? I think it was that summer before H went to college. We got up early each morning to take mom to work so we could have the car, and we adventured all over. We went to the Sciencenter, to the mall, and made a lot of trips to the bookstore.
Do you remember what you thought that day? You might have even said it out loud.
You said one day, I'm gonna walk into Barnes & Noble and find my name on the shelf.
Brace yourself, kid, because it's actually happening.
You wrote a novel - you've written eight of them, actually - and signed a publishing contract, and tomorrow, that book that you wrote is released into the world. It's the ebook version, the print one doesn't come out until May 15.
But your book is going out into the world. It's going to be on bookstore shelves.
You had a goal, which, at one point, didn't seem attainable, but you worked for it anyway. That's because you don't know how to quit, kid. Trust me when I say you still don't, and I don't think you're ever going to learn. Probably not a bad thing.
I'm not gonna lie, you've got some rough years ahead, and I don't just mean the normal middle and high school year shenanigans. You'll get mono, somehow catch whooping cough, have a mystery pain, and get your wisdom teeth removed. You even eventually have open heart surgery. Which yeah, it's terrifying,
But you do a lot of other really cool stuff before and after. You get to travel. Mom and Dad even let you wander all the way to Wales for, like, four months.
And you play so much soccer.
But the most important thing, kid, is that you didn't give up. There were a lot of people who scoffed at that lofty goal of yours, a lot of people who thought you couldn't do it. And despite all of that, despite sometimes wondering why you kept writing, why you kept trying, you didn't give up.
And that, you mop-headed small child, is something we never grow out of.
It's a long, strange trip from there to here, but it's worth every. Single. Step. And it's definitely worth it for the people you'll meet along the way. Some will encourage you. Some will tell you you can't do it. And some will just let you slog through everything without comment. You'll figure it out.
You'll always figure it out.
And when in doubt, just ask mom for advice. She's got a lot of wisdom she can impart.
But you gotta remember, kid, that in the quiet moments in the middle of the night when no one else was around, it was you who kept going, kept trying, and kept writing. For all those moments when it would have been easy to give up, you didn't.
This was your dream to follow, your goal to get. And you did.
So tomorrow - the release day for LADY OF SHERWOOD - is for you, kid. You never gave up on that dream, and here we are, twenty years later, finally seeing it tangibly come true. Here's to you for saying I want that, and I'm gonna do it one day.
Your one day is here.
Smile. Soak it all in. Have some cake. And maybe, on Tuesday, figure out which new thing you want to reach for next.
Here's to you, kid.
You Future Self
I know I was just way in Boston, but next week I'll be heading south to Virginia Beach for a week away with my parents. I've decided to take along some books I've borrowed from the library, and thought you might be interested to see what's next in my To Be Read pile.
I started Secret of a Heart Note while I waited in the airport for my delayed flight to Boston. I'm very excited to continue reading.
I spent last weekend in Boston. Originally, I was supposed to fly out Thursday, but my airline preemptively cancelled flights for Thursday on Wednesday afternoon, and I didn't leave until Friday night.
This was my first time flying since I had open heart surgery. I felt sorry for the person who sat next to me because I chew gum (so my ears will pop) and I'm pretty sure I was more cow with cud than human with chewing gum.
Welcome to 2017! I hope everybody had a safe, happy, and fun New Year's Eve celebration! I spent mine watching Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince while putting together a 750 piece puzzle with my mom. (You can see a picture of it here, on my Instagram.)
I seem to have brought back the super-bug that went through the house, so while I can only breathe through one nostril, I still have a slice of cheesecake from New Year's, and I have as much rooibos tea as I can possibly drink.
But what I really wanted to talk about are some goals I have for 2017
1) Be More Organized
I have a very pretty planner (which has flowers on the cover, which is kind of unusual for me) and I need to start using it more. Like, on a weekly basis. And I need to not forget that I have it.
2) Journal More
I always seem to have a lot rattling around in my head. Some of it is, of course, book and writing related, but a lot of it isn't. A lot of it is just for and about me. And while I like to share things not related to writing here, journaling is a little too personal.
It would also, probably, be cathartic.
3) Be As Brave as The Dunkin Donuts Incident
Long story short, the Dunkin Donuts Incident involved me being exceptionally braver than I usually am and giving my name and phone number to a very cute guy. It didn't pan out - which is okay - but the point is that I did something I would have only thought about doing, but would have never actually done before. So I want to be as brave as I was that morning more often. Even if I might fail.
4) Live Life Wide Open
It's a big, wide world out there and I'm going to see, experience, and live in it as much as I possibly can. There's a reason my life motto is carpe this diem and I intend to keep on doing just that.
It's not a long list, but I think it's a good one. And it should definitely be an adventure.
Hope & Kindness,
PitchWars selections happen on Thursday. There are, as there have been in years past, a ton of incredibly talented applicants looking to be a mentee in the hopes of, ultimately, gaining agent representation. Representation is a goal a lot of us, as writers, have. It's a good goal. An attainable one.
But for a lot of us, Thursday will come with heartbreak and disappointment.
And it's okay to be disappointed.
It's okay to look around and say my best wasn't good enough in certain ways, and it's a difficult reminder that this process is a lot like the publishing process - it's incredibly subjective. I can go through my email and find a huge number of my rejected queries that say I write well, but the agent/editor didn't connect with the characters the way they needed to.
This was one of the hardest lessons to wrap my head around, and sometimes it still gets to me. Just like the way Thursday will get to me.
You can be disappointed. You can eat your feelings with ice cream and beer, and watch your favorite movies. That's totally allowed. (I will most likely be doing some form of this at the end of the week.) But you can't wallow forever, which means you have to decide whether you're going to throw in the towel or keep going.
Please don't throw in the towel.
If you need to, shelve the project you entered for PitchWars for a little while. Write something new. Rewrite a previous work. But don't dwell on the hurt and disappointment, and please, please don't give up. There are multiple ways to get to the destination - that destination being agent representation, a book deal, etc - and PitchWars is just one of those ways. Contests are just one of those ways.
In the end, the journey you took to get there will be worth it. Believe me.
Thanks for stopping by. Browse. Smile. Giggle. And maybe say hi.