Newest Addition to my Fall Wardrobe

Sep 27

Newest Addition to my Fall Wardrobe

I just ordered this cute, bubbly, skirt in a color that will either go with everything or that I will MAKE go with everything for the fall, winter, and early spring.

I am trying to be good about shopping – so this is the only item of clothing I am allowing myself to purchase for the month of September/October. Hold me to it!

It was 50% off – can’t forget to mention that! It’s deals like these that make those annoying weekly emails from all my favorite retailers a little more bearable.

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Thoughts on home

Sep 26

Thoughts on home

I am currently reading this memoir, The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost (I hate the title just as much as you do… but the book is really a good read). Author Rachel Friedman did a reading at my favorite bookshop here in LA – The Traveler’s Bookcase, and I was able to pick up a copy. During the reading, I literally caught myself gasping during several passages, because as she read, her words were almost exactly conveying the feelings that I had while living abroad after college.

She talks a lot in the book about the indecision she felt after graduation, and how that feeling, even after all of her travels, still lingered on for many years – and even still today. She talks also about feeling a bit lost, and even though she’s always enjoying her adventures, she wonders how to establish her life in a way that will bring her contentment and peace well into her old age. This is just one quote from the book that I particularly love. I am only about half-way through, and a complete review is forthcoming.

“Even the homes we leave on purpose, the families we break away from to be ourselves or someone else, call us back again and again, to a place that has long since ceased to be home yet still holds power over us. I know this myself now that I have left this place behind and have not yet created anything to replace it, if such a thing is even possible.” Chapter 10, pg. 134

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Fiction Exercise #1

Sep 22

Instructions: One page. According to Henry James, a writer wrote a novel from a glimpse of a seminary students’ dinner party. Write a scene of a story from a glimpse you have had of a group of people – in a café, zoo, train or anywhere. Sketch the characters in their setting and let them interact. Do you find that you know too little? Can you make up enough- or import from other experiences – to fill the empty canvas?

Objective: To find out if you can make much out of little. If you can, great. If you can’t now, don’t worry, you might later, or you’ll have to get your stories from other materials.

What I came up with:

As I read an excerpt aloud, the hot, crowded bookstore pulses with energy both familiar and a little overwhelming. In the corner near the coffee table books filled with pictures of London bridges, my father stands with his new wife, and laughs nervously every time the passage makes reference to his divorce from my mother fifteen years ago. The new wife stands with champagne in hand, looking be-dazzled and be-decked, with high hair and even higher standards. I will never accept her.

Over by the maps, a spritely college student with eyes that bore through my existence is chattering excitedly, pretending to whisper but clearly trying to interrupt my reading. A tall blonde who had previously been handing out business cards for her travel blog glares at the sprite, and shifts her weight so that the sprite is now forced to stare directly at her shoulder blades. I am grateful.

Nikki, the bitchy yet simultaneously likeable store owner is trying to find a specific book on Rwanda for the one person in the bookstore that doesn’t know a reading is taking place. “I’ve been looking everywhere,” she says as she stumbles over my frail mother, seated in the front, looking terribly desperate and lapping up every word that comes out of my mouth. My poor cute mother.

I finish the excerpt and look up, waiting for applause or awkward silence, and receive the latter for three elongated seconds before the former reassures me that I’m not a complete fraud. The tall blonde has gotten her business cards out again and the sprite is on the verge of attack. Cheryl, the facilitator and part of the husband/wife team responsible for Marriage on the Run, a travel website dedicated to the art of never living anywhere with your significant other for longer than six months, fishes around the room for questions purposely avoiding the sprite. I start to wonder if the sprite makes regular appearances, or if Cheryl just knows the type.

After a series of obvious questions, as well as some thought-provoking ones and one completely unanswerable inquiry asked by the sprite (it was more of a statement about her trip to Tijuana last year), the crowd applauds once more and starts to spill out onto 3rd Street. A few people linger to buy my book, even the woman who referred to the title as a “pretty shameless marketing ploy… like a lesser Eat Pray Love.” I sign and make small conversation, gritting my teeth as the sprite tells me she’s written several books about her travel experiences but is unwilling to publish unless it’s on her own terms. Bullshit.

My mother and father nod at each other, pose for a family picture on opposite ends of the sidewalk, and I tell them I’ll see them for breakfast and lunch tomorrow, respectively. I gather up what’s left of my books and head to my car, thinking back to how I always longed to be an author who was asked to read aloud.

Check: Can you visualize these people further? Can you begin to hear at least one person speak? If not, go back and find a way of talking that might fit one of the people in the group, and carry on from there.

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New Project

Sep 21

New Project

About two weeks ago I was on my way to meet my friend Ashley for lunch at a Thai place in Glendale. I arrived early and decided to walk around the neighborhood – and came across the most amazing used-book shop! Anyone who knows me knows that I can’t pass a bookstore without going in and getting lost for hours – so of course I decided to indulge myself.

After browsing for awhile and almost purchasing an Eckhart Tolle book about “The Power of Now” (I was feeling a little depressed and kind of in a self-help mood), I decided to come to grips with my fear of jumping back into writing. It’s something I toy with occasionally, yet am afraid to take too seriously because I remember being in college and staring at my computer screen until 3am, begging my subconscious to spill forth the thoughts from my head in some form not entirely nonsensical.

I usually just wrote bad poetry.

But I have thoughts that are DYING to escape – and I long again for that world where I can encourage them to make their way out. So I pushed myself into the Writing section, startling another customer who was knee-deep into a book called “How to write a screenplay, and then cast yourself in the lead role” or something like that. After seeing too many “How to sell your writing” books and becoming a little discouraged – I finally found “The Fiction Writer’s Workshop” – a book of exercises that one can do to exercise their creative brain. It was the perfect find – and I thought it would also be a great aid in encouraging me to blog on a more regular basis.

So, starting this weekend, I am going to do at least one post a week that is a guided fiction writing exercise, followed by whatever writing I came up with while doing the exercise.

And of course, I will try to write blogs about my life and current events from time to time as well. And I still owe Jade that blog about Costa Rica – and I still owe Ann-Sophie that blog about my experience in Fowler. I’m on it.

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Who Cares If You Disagree

Aug 31

This is going up just because it makes me feel a little bit better about a conversation I had today regarding my future. I think it has become a routine for some people to think that they might have some say in what I do with my life – that they might have some ownership over my decision making process. And that’s just not true. And I think it’s high time I stopped asking permission to live my life and change my mind and move forward in the direction of my dreams.

So you can sit with your all-knowing smirk and pretend to have no interest in my plans or my hopes and fears. I do not need your blessing sir, nor do I need your support. I’ve gotten this far without it.

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