I haven’t been reading.

I haven’t had it in me lately, which is bugging me, but nothing changes. So, clearly, it’s not bugging me enough.

I have plenty of options [i.e. stacks of books], but I’m not motivated to immerse myself in a new world. I think it’s because I’ve been immersing myself in my own new world.

This writing project is wonderful. Wonderful and slightly aggravating. But really just wonderful. It’s mine, my creation. My imagination and thought processes resulted in a story, a plot, and characters that I truly love. Now all I need is time to devote to its progress.

What I find tricky is I don’t want to delve into the project for 15 or 20 mins when I have a chance. I want like 2 hours to get in there and be present.

There’s a coffee shop nearby, and I work well there. I don’t work well at home. Too many distractions and reasons to not focus. I’m hoping I’ll get in some good writing time tomorrow since I’m off from work, but I have to go somewhere else because I’m not at home.

I have to remember- this book isn’t going to write itself! And I can’t edit a blank page. All those clichés that are meant to induce encouragement and motivation, they work, let me tell you.

I’m happy to report that I’ve been pretty busy these last few weeks.

I had a few leads on jobs, but none have worked out.

One in particular was disappointing; it took me a couple days to get over it. And even now when I think about it, I feel a twinge of sadness. But, as people in my life have said, there will be other jobs!

I’m trying to stay positive. It obviously wasn’t meant to be.

I’ve been reading more. I forget if I mentioned that last time. I was reading Lolita, which I didn’t finish. The main character guy started to bore me with his whining on that 500-year-long road trip, so I gave it up. Now, I’m reading The Witches of New York by Ami McKay, and I am quite enjoying it. It is much more my style. Witches are by far my most favorite supernatural being, and I love stories about magic. So much so that I have an idea to write my own witch story. I fear though that the topic is overdone, like the vampire thing.

Over the last two days, I’ve been brainstorming the whos, whats, whens, wheres, whys, and hows of it, and I keep thinking, Oh, that’s been done before. I feel slightly discouraged, but I also remembered the saying:

Write what you know.

So, my own perspective on a supernatural story may be worth it.

And who knows, it may be the “job” I’m looking for!

Summer, Sunshine, and Perpetual Self-Discovery

Well, I graduated. What a load off my back (and mind) that is.

My college career came to an end on May 10, 2019, assuming I don’t go for a graduate degree. The very idea turns my stomach, but I did find out that Masters degrees in creative writing are real, so who knows what the future holds.

My degree title is as follows:

Bachelor of Arts, University Without Walls, Journalism and Writing Studies

Yeah- *fist in the air, à la John Bender, minus the long coat because it’s too hot out for that*

Now, if I could just receive that stupid piece of paper in the mail.

My advisor confirmed that I graduated. My grades and degree completion checklist told me that I graduated. But the “3-4 weeks” that it would take to receive my diploma have passed. I can’t help feeling a little afraid, like it was all a joke or a lie.

I want to hang it in a smart, classy frame and stare at it while I pay back the loans I owe so that I can be reminded of why I did this in the first place.

Back when I first contemplated giving college another go, I had a lot of worries to sort through, but where I always ended up was, if I had already started, instead of continued to worry, I could be like a year into it by then.

So, finally, I decided to do it. And three years later, here I am. Done.

It’s pretty surreal.

At first, I was like, I have all my free time back! I can do what I want! I can write! I can read! I can travel!

But you know what? For this last month, I mostly just binged on Netflix. I did a little reading (finished The Great Gatsby; started Lolita) and a little traveling (bookstores; beach) and a little creative thinking (random stuff). But mostly, I was a total bum.

And it was fantastic!

Eventually, instead of being annoyed with myself for not being more creatively productive, I embraced the bumminess and let myself ENJOY it! I realized that I needed time to detach from thinking like a part-time student. I needed to get to know myself again, who I am without “student” as a descriptor.

At this point, the Netflix binge has ended, thankfully. There’s been an uptick in social media activity though. I would like to quash that, but I’m also getting into the mindset of using it for creative purposes, so I’m putting a pin in that one. Happy to report, however, that I’ve been reading more. Still on Lolita, which is an entirely different topic, but I bought a bunch of new books and am very excited to get into them!

Here’s to summer, sunshine, and perpetual self-discovery! 🍹☀️

I used to be the queen of used book sales.

I’m sure there are folks who frequent them much more than I ever did, but, in my social circle, it was something I was known for. I was good-naturedly teased because of it.

If there was a book sale in my general area, I knew about it and was probably going to it. I would schedule time in my day, like an entire morning or afternoon, and, upon arrival, latte in hand, I would strategize based on the setup of the sale and genres. I sometimes brought friends with me too. And in the end, I’d come out with a bag or two full of tomes on travel, cooking, geography, history, poetry, and, of course, lots of fiction, both more modern and classic. Book shopping was my favorite. If I saw a book section at a yard sale, a discount store, or a thrift store, I would have to peruse it and see if anything piqued my interest. Most of the time, I would find something to take home. And I felt that I balanced out all the purchasing by selling and donating what I could stand to part with post-reading. It was heaven.

A few years ago though, my desire to go slowed down until it dropped off altogether. I started noticing just how full my large  bookcase was and how I was having to double stack my collection. I could hear my mother’s words, “You have enough/too many books.” I hung my head when I saw what she saw. I do have enough/too many books. So, I stopped going to sales and stores. The good stuff was always gone at the “early bird” days anyway. And they didn’t generally have a whole lot of variety, what with about 20 copies of The Help and The Notebook, hoping to be snagged by the last 2% of the population who didn’t already own them. (Truly, no offense to those books, their authors, or their fans. Just trying to make a point.) My mind kept going back to where I could possibly store any more. In fact, a couple of months ago, when I cleaned out my closet, I found two shopping bags of books that I had FORGOTTEN ABOUT for at least a year. If that’s not a sign, I don’t know what is.

Nowadays, I still go to used book stores, but a lot less frequently. Maybe once a year I allow myself to indulge in my version of retail therapy, and you know what? It’s quite satisfying. Going less often makes the trip and experience that much more special. I see much more variety in the selection, and I get to check in with the building. To me, it’s a wise old man with little glasses, keeping watch over all the wisdom and knowledge. And shockingly, I don’t haul a giant bag of loot out to my car like Santa Clause going down the chimney on Christmas night.

One day, when I have more space, like an entire room to consider as a library and writing room, I’ll go crazy again. But until then, I will have to keep it simple.

Here we are. The last week of summer break before the new semester starts.

At one point, it seemed really far off, and now it’s like oh crap.

I crossed off a pretty good amount of things on my summer bucket list, plus some that weren’t on the list:

I got my nose re-pierced; that was number one. I tried to learn the Time Warp, the main dance from Rocky Horror. I read a lot during the first couple of months, not so much in the second. I watched new TV shows and a handful of good movies, including ones I’ve seen a million times already. But sometimes I just need to witness that story again. I finally went on a research trip for a project I’ve been working on for years. I met Holly Marie Combs (my twin, according to many of my friends) at ComiConn. I joined a writing group, a dream of mine for quite a long time. And I got to watch one of my best friends become a mother for the first time. Well, I didn’t see her give birth, but I saw her throughout her pregnancy, and then I met her precious little baby. Pretty wonderful stuff right there. My goal was to make the absolute most of my time off from school, to make it feel like a true break, and I think I accomplished that.

This week, I hope to wring out those last drops of freedom, which shouldn’t be too hard since I don’t have much going on. I’m thinking I’ll go to the beach if the weather cooperates. And of course, I want to spend some time reading. I feel like choosing a shorter novel and trying to read it by next week. Everything I’ve been reading for the last two months or so has been non-fiction, and honestly, that’s not my favorite genre, which is probably a big part of why I’ve slacked. And now that I’ve said that, I understand more why I hate reading for assignments—it’s all non-fiction.

Currently, all my books are boxed up due to a small renovation project going on at my house, but I’ll have to dig through everything tonight and see what looks good.