23 February 2014

Teenage Daydream

I went for a long walk last night, hours after the sun had set. I put on some headphones, selected a playlist I'd made over a year ago and put one foot in front of the other. I walked past a high school and saw some boys hanging out on a picnic table, listening to music of their own. Out of the blue I was overwhelmed with a memory from my own time in high school. It was a night that felt quite similar, the air was cold, the sky open. I was walking alone. I had gone to see the school play. I can't even tell you which one it was. It's funny the kinds of things our brains hold onto and the kinds of things it lets go. The memory that hit me so hard, so fast, was one in which I ran into the boy I had an epic crush on at a time when I was least expecting to. I came around a corner and there he was, right after I'd been thinking about him. It felt like magic, like it was meant to. We talked. And like always, he left me wanting for more than our few words. I went home, wrote about it in my journal, and fell asleep dreaming of him.

For the rest of my walk it was hard to escape my teenage self. Further along I could hear laughter over the sounds of my music and I looked to see where it was coming from and saw a bunch of kids out in the front yard of a house, running around and goofing off. It made me smile and drew me to other memories and other emotions.

I've been thinking a lot about books, about why I'm drawn to the kinds of books I'm drawn to, why I read (and write) so much YA. I recently read Jojo Moyes new book One Plus One (which sadly for you, doesn't come out until July) and while it didn't affect me in the same way as Me Before You) it was still emotionally resonant even though I have very little in common, at least on the surface) with any of the characters. I'm currently reading a MG (Middle Grade) novel (which is a genre I read maybe 1-3 books a year). This book is hitting a very different emotional nerve that links back to a much earlier part of my childhood than I usually think about.

The truth is, I like all kinds of books about all kinds of different things. But the books that pull me in again and again and again are the ones with compelling characters who have interesting stories to tell.

I tried writing several other novels, writing pages, a few chapters. I even finished one manuscript. But it wasn't until I started writing about high school that I started to truly feel like I had something I wanted to say, something that I needed to say. I still feel that way.

I read two books in the last week in exchange for sleeping.

11 February 2014

Sometimes Life Doesn't Give You Mashed Potatoes.

Holy {bleep}! Wow, I knew that it had been a long time since I had written a blog, I just didn't realize it had been quite that long. The path from January 7th until today, February 10th has been a long and not exactly pleasant one. I survived the holidays and made it to my "Christmas" holiday and had an absolutely amazing time visiting with friends, eating amazing food, and walking miles and miles and miles along the Oregon Coast. And then pretty much upon returning home and feasting upon Thanksgiving in January (though it was with a definite LACK of my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE: MASHED POTATOES), I fell ill.

Really ill. So ill that I went to the doctor (gasp!). It took two weeks for me to begin to feel like a human being. And now, another week later, I'm not quite myself, but I'm much better. That little Winter Blast the last few days, transforming Portlandia into Icelandia, didn't do me any favors.

But I'm here now. And I've found myself with an hour to spare and a cup of coffee. It feels right.

I've had so many thoughts, so many ideas about what I want to do in my writing and in my life.

And now, on this gray, desperate, February day, I am committed to making time to transform those thoughts and ideas into action.

Wish me luck.

I am tired of using this amazing laptop for work work. I want to use it as a tool in full support of my imagination.

And I'd still really like some amazing mashed potatoes. With homemade gravy. I guess I'll have to work on that too. 

I've been obsessed with my new favorite app that transforms photos into watercolors.