5 Things, Five Favorites

5 Best Things from 2015

Holy crap, guys, is it seriously 2016? Oh God, I typed 2015 there originally. It’s already too much for me. But don’t get me wrong, 2015 was kind of crazy. Here are the big five awesome things that happened to yours truly this year. My Five Favorites of 2015 (in no specific order) are…

2015 copy

  1. The Travel Weekend, in which I went to Bard to see Neil Gaiman and then drove to DC to see Amanda Palmer the following night. She signed my hippo. It was magical.
  2. My First Book Event, in which I read from my poetry chapbook, Pickled Miracles, at Rickert & Beagle in Pittsburgh. I also sold custom poetry.
  3. Our First House, in which my husband and I bought a house in Pittsburgh. It was one of the most stressful processes I’ve ever gone through, but now…we own a freaking house.
  4. Ask Me Another, in which I was a participant on the NPR quiz show. Such fun. I didn’t win, but it was totally worth it.
  5. Crafts, in which my visual art game became stronger. I did monthly doodles, photography, felting, papercrafts…it’s been fun to have something more tactile to balance my writing.

Honorable mentions: The Chuck Palahniuk and Rainbow Rowell events, Picklesburgh, Welcome to Night Vale, Mudderella, the Priory Hotel, the Pittsburgh Botanical Garden, NaNoWriMo

Has this year been a journey? Absolutely. But even though that was my word of the year, it’s not over yet. Is it ever?

Tomorrow: the word for this year and what I have planned.

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5 Things, Personal, Writing

What is Happening?!

No, but seriously, 5 things happening right now:

1. I am taking part in NYC Midnight’s 2015 Flash Fiction Challenge 2015. Starting Friday, I’ll be given several challenges with an item, a location and a genre/theme/mood. I will then write stories of 1000 words in length. Fun? Hell yeah! Difficult? Probably!

2. I went to Confluence this past weekend. I haven’t been to a sci-fi/fantasy/literary conference in my town in a long while. It was a blast.

3. Still slowly fighting my way out of boxes. That’s a thing.

4. I bought a Sleep Number bed. I recommend it for all writers who want to a) sleep really well, b) write sitting in bed, and c) love being comfy. That last one isn’t just for writers, I know.

5. I miss having a flow to my writing. Everything has been feeling very disjointed since the move. I want desperately to have some semblance of habit back. I know that each day is a step forward, but it’s been really hard. I’ve started using the Pomodoro Technique to get back to being productive, but it’s taking more time than I’d like.

How are you?

5 Things, Uncategorized

We’re Back!

I missed you! How are you?

So things never go quite how you imagine they will. Even in the best situations. Such was the case with moving, and it wasn’t even a dramatic move. Looking at a map, it would be, like, two fingers tips. Nothing. But we are still reeling, still struggling to get back to whatever normal is.

Here are 5 things I learned from the move that I think is relevant to you, you not-moving people, you. Unless you are moving, in which case I send you lots of good vibes.

1. There’s no way to be too organized, and if you’re not organized at all, the only thing you need is a box to get started. You know those papers are important, and you should keep track of them. If you don’t have time to put together some elaborate color-coded system, at least keep them all in one single box. Not three. Not four and a shelf. Not four, a shelf and a folder.

2. Sometimes, there won’t be help there. You may have to improvise. Take the number of people who have said they will help you with something and divide it by two. Assume that’s how many people are coming. Make sure you have a separate plan of attack so you’re not left stranded.

3. Hoard small victories. Some days, the best you can hope for is a spot of floor and a cleared off space on the couch. Nothing wrong with that. Take pride in that even if you are surrounded by a box fortress.

4. You can always get back to where you were with small steps. I have a list of things I like to at least touch on every day – crafts, writing, spirituality and reading for pleasure, to name a few. I have had neither the time nor space is start new art projects, so I’ve had to be content with doodles, photos and “easy” art. Every little bit helps.

5. Take care of yourself. It may be hard, but make sure you’re eating, drinking plenty of fluids, and taking some time for yourself to recharge. It’s easy to say, “I will do that after I finish this big task,” but if you crash and burn, you won’t get anything done at all!

What life lessons have you taken from big changes?

How to Have a Day Job, Personal

How to Have a Day Job/House/Life/Everything in 3 Lessons

Hi. Hello. Yes, yes, we’re here. We’re alive. We are in THE HOUSE. I’m sorry you all were left under radio silence for a while. Getting the technologies to coexist in the titanium dome that is obviously hiding in the attic has proven difficult.

How are you?

Owning a house – I almost wrote possessing, but that didn’t exactly feel right – is unlike anything I could have thought it to be. The first time something went wrong, I stormed up to my husband and asked, “We should call them back and tell them that we didn’t sign up for this shit!”

“Tell who what?”

“Everyone! Everyone else should fix this! I don’t want to fix this! Do you?”

And that was when my husband walked away. Not really, but he told me that there was no one to fix it. We had to fix it. Or call a plumber, electrician, carpenter, or handyman to fix it while we pay them. And I knew that. I just didn’t want to.

Lesson 1: There’s no one to place blame on, or ask to take up the burden. You only have yourself to rely on.

We were scrambling with the last of the detritus and flim-flam of our old residence. We had just barely gotten everything out the last day, in the last hour. Suddenly, faced with the closed, locked door, I started choking.

“Are you okay?”

“This is it,” I said. “This is it. Like…it’s happening right now.”

He headed down the stairs, and slowly I followed. There was no last big hurrah, no ridiculous Polaroid. Nothing. Except the ting of a key at the bottom of the mailbox and salty, stingy tears from the driver’s seat.

Lesson 2: Make the memories while the thing is happening. They will hold on longer than last hurrahs.

I’m sitting in the eating nook adjacent to the kitchen. It has been cleared of most boxes, and I can look out over the table to the rats that are playing in the cage against the window. I can watch as little birds eat the neighbor’s wild grapes.

In the corner of my eye is a black and white animal. Despite our keeping the gate closed to the back yard, the checkered Maine Coon is utterly undeterred. It pauses momentarily, giving the metal obstruction barely more than a measured look, before squeezing under it. It doesn’t even run. It saunters to the next gate and is gone.

Lesson 3: Life is full of wonder. Just wait. You’ll see.