let him in.

Friday, November 29

There are less than 24 hours of NaNoWriMo left. Here is another little peek of my story.

Current Word Count: 48,400

via *

on the floor

Tuesday, November 26

I've moved out of my bed and 
onto the floor.

More room for the thoughts to blossom
and boom like fireworks and celebration guns,
illuminating the night and 
forcing you from your bed.

You dash to the windows and
see the sparks rain down.
The sparks never land, you know.
They dissipate just moments before 
the ground takes shape. 

They stay, 
hovering in space,
crawling in the air,
dancing in your dreams 
like the sugarplums 
in your youth. 

I spread myself onto the floor
and watch the sparks above my head.
They tickle my nose,
a loose ember catching in my hair,
setting it ablaze. 

Undulations, tribulations, tabulations,
formulations of forever and a day. 
Formulations of a single moment,
then twenty,
then a stream of consciousness 
spilling out onto the pages.

It's two in the morning
and I'm out of bed 
and on the floor,
laying in a garden of words,
watching the stars fall to Earth.

via *

lightning rod

Sunday, November 24

I like him, I think.
I don't remember how that feels.
The tripping trepidation,
the bubbling bewilderment,
the thought of someone new
on the horizon. 

A few weeks back
he told me he was ready to
give up on love.
He's been so hurt,
his care never being returned.

He says my friendship means the world.
How do I tell him
I've been hurt too,
I've given all of myself
and lost every inch of who I was
for love.

His words always inspire me,
his last name sounds like adventure,
his first name sounds like hope.

He is an artist.
I'm weak for artists.
His mind is marvelous.

He makes me feel creative.

I don't want to see our 
friendship disappear. 
I can't make him ready if he's not. 
But every time his name flashes
on my phone screen,
my heart flips.

I told him not to 
give up forever.
Just for now.
Wait it out,
love will strike again.

How do I tell him that he
has become my lightning rod? 

via *

he's got jokes

Friday, November 22

I've been talking with a boy. We won't talk about how we met because it's stupid and not worthy of our now awesome friendship. But we talk a lot. And it brightens my day. Here's why.

We were talking about depression. Not in a serious way. In a "let's discuss this thing because it's midnight and we are talking about dark and lovely things." And the fact that sometimes a text from a near stranger can make your day.

I said.

"Misery loves company."

He said.

"I'm gonna name my daughter Misery and she's going to be awesome. Whenever we have people over I'll have her entertain them. Then company will love misery."

He's got jokes, everybody. He's got jokes.

via *

fragile and new

Monday, November 18

More of Thom and Piper today. This scene is special. Achingly personal and tender. This is the song used. Start the song, then start the scene.

Current word count: 30,505

via *

Getting Rooted in New Zealand

A few weeks back a beautiful woman named Jamie Baywood contacted me about her book called Getting Rooted in New Zealand. I was so thrilled to read her book and even more excited for the opportunity to interview her after I read it. She sent me a copy and although some family stuff took over my time for a while, when I did get to read her book, I tore through it in one night. Oh my goodness. This girl can write. Also, she is one of the funniest people in the entire world.

Courtesy of Jamie Baywood
Her book is a memoir about her time in New Zealand. Jamie moved to New Zealand on a work visa to escape the dating scene she found herself in and to find some adventure. New Zealand has about 100,000 fewer men in the population than women, perfect for a girl needing a change and needing to avoid creepy men. (Side note, she found the creepiest people in California. Her stories about her past relationships are so phenomenally awkward.) Through her introspection about her past and mulling through her present in New Zealand, Jamie is able to find more of herself and finally get rooted in New Zealand, in more ways than one. (The best part of this book is the double meaning of the word rooted. So. Much. Yes.)

Courtesy of Jamie Baywood.
Look at how stunning she is. Prettiest ever.
She is an amazing writer. Her style is so conversational and open. She's incredibly honest and giving and you sincerely feel that she is a friend of yours telling you about her time living abroad. When she meets crazy men, you laugh and cringe with her. When she has a horrific day at work with her boss who is a one woman tornado, you get mad with her. When she meets a sexy Scottish guy and starts loving on him, you cheer for her. (PS Jamie... I was 10000% serious when I asked if Grant has any single friends. I love Scots. Hook a girl up!)

After finishing her book I sent her a few interview questions that I'd love to share with you. Here is our interview. Enjoy getting to know Jamie Baywood a bit more; I sure did.

Did you know when you moved to New Zealand that you were going to write a book about your experiences?

I consider myself an accidental author. I didn’t go to New Zealand with the intentions of writing a book about my experiences there. I had funny experiences that I had trouble believing were true. I wrote the stories down to stay sane. I wrote situations down that were happening around me and shared them with friends. The stories made people laugh so I decided to organize the stories into a book and publish in the hopes to make others laugh too.

My education is in fine arts, I didn’t write until I moved to New Zealand. I had a lot of art shows in California and New Zealand and even managed an art collective in Auckland. I was bored with the fine art scene. Everything has already been done before in painting, but I am the only person that can tell my own story. Writing feels like a more honest form of art than any other method I’ve tried.

Courtesy of Jamie Baywood
Publishing my book was my way of transforming poison into medicine. I hope that it can help people that have had bad dating experiences or bad work experiences – make them laugh and not give up hope.  I had good, bad and weird experiences in New Zealand and California. My experiences have turned me into a writer and I am extremely grateful for that.  People that read it either seem to think it’s hilarious or horrifying and I respect all points of view.  I hope my book Getting Rooted in New Zealand makes you laugh!

It would be impossible to write down every single thing that happen to me in New Zealand for over a year and it probably wouldn’t be interesting to read. My book is 100% true. These are 100% my experiences. I have changed some the names, but not all of individuals and organizations to preserve privacy. Most of the book was written as the events happened; it just took me a few years to work up the nerve to publish. To write my book Getting Rooted In New Zealand, I relied upon my personal journals, e-mails, and memories. In February 2013, I organized my stories into a cohesive narrative. It went through several rounds of editing and then I published in April.

When did you start writing? What got you started?

I had the opportunity to write and perform for Thomas Sainsbury the most prolific playwright in New Zealand. I performed a monologue about my jobs in the Basement Theatre in Auckland.  The funny thing about that experience was Tom kept me separated from the other performers until it was time to perform. I was under the impression that all the performers were foreigners giving their experiences in New Zealand.  All of the other performers were professional actors telling stories that weren’t their own. At first I was mortified, but the audience seemed to enjoy my “performance,” laughing their way through my monologue. After the shows we would go out and mingle with the audience. People would ask me how long I had been acting. I would tell them, “I wasn’t acting; I have to go to work tomorrow and sit next to the girl wearing her dead dog’s collar around her neck.”

What was the hardest part about writing this book?

I know my experiences in New Zealand are unusual, but to be completely honest it was an improvement from my life in California. Surprisingly, I seem to be getting the best feedback from people living in New Zealand both Kiwis and non-Kiwis.  I have received very kind emails from New Zealanders saying they enjoyed reading my book, they are looking forward to reading the next one and some encourage me to move back to New Zealand.

I love making people laugh more than anything else. I love hearing from readers that my book is making people laugh out loud. The hardest part has been when people don’t understand my humour. I have been in a lot of situations where I had two choices: laugh or cry. I’ve chosen to laugh. I write my experiences from a purely personal standpoint. Compared to other travellers who worked abroad in New Zealand my experiences have been very unusual. I would highly recommend everyone goes to New Zealand to experience their own adventure.

I think readers need to remember this is the dairy of a young, hormonal and confused twenty-something, this is not a travel guide to New Zealand.  I am sincerely appreciative of everyone that has read Getting Rooted in New Zealand. I’m absolutely grateful that readers are enjoying the book and reviewing it positively. I love making people laugh. I hope you enjoy Getting Rooted in New Zealand!

From the very beginning it is clear that you are very dedicated to your Buddhist faith. How did you find that faith and what hooked you to it?

In addition to being an accidental author, I am also an accidental Buddhist. I never planned to become either. I was introduced to the Buddhist practice that involves chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo through a friend. I was very reluctant to go to the Buddhist meeting with him; I thought it would be really weird. Much to my surprise hearing the chanting made me feel at home on a cellular level. I’ve always struggled with anxiety and at times depression, chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo calms me to the core.

Over the next few years, through a lot of chanting, going to Buddhist study meetings and reading books like The Buddha in Your Mirror I really learned to love, value and respect myself. For the first time in my life I felt really happy and the happiness came from within. The thing that I like about Buddhism is it is about taking 100% responsibility for your own life. The word karma translates into action. You can change your karma by changing your actions. Essentially, stop doing the same thing and expecting a different result. For me, needed to overcome my relationship karma by stopping dating guys that I knew were wrong for me.

Five years later I’ve now lived and practiced this Buddhism in five different countries: California, American Samoa, New Zealand, Scotland and now England. The practice is in 192 countries around the world and everywhere I go I have a built in community. Five years ago, I never thought I would get married. I’ve now been married for nearly two years and married the son of a knight in a castle in Scotland. My life has transformed in many ways other than my relationship karma, but I have literally chanted my way from trailer parks to castles.

You mention that New Zealand has one hundred thousand fewer men than women. Coming off of a few heartbreaks myself this idea to go to New Zealand is sounding pretty good to me! Was that the only reason you chose New Zealand?

I know it sounds like a crazy reason, but I needed a serious change in my life and felt I needed to leave the country to do so. I started dating my first boyfriend when we were fourteen and the relationship ended when I was twenty-three.  I had never dumped someone and didn’t have the life skills to do so. Between ages twenty-three and twenty-six, I would only date guys I knew I could dump easily. Not surprisingly, only dating guys with clear and abundant flaws that were easy to dump, created a lot of chaos and drama in my life. 

When I was twenty-four, I had my second boyfriend who I call Hank, in real life his named rhymed with Hank. Hank had a drug dealer that sincerely went by the name Stank. I took Hank to rehab, after that I had a string of crazy suitors and ex’s.  If you had Hank and Stank in your life, what other choice do you have, but to leave the country and become an author? 

By the age of twenty-six, I was actually much happier being alone than dating, but I was completely bombarded by guys trying to date me. I read in a New Zealand tour book that the country’s population has 100,000 fewer men than women.  I wanted to have some me time and an adventure. New Zealand seemed like a good place to do so. 

I found a work abroad company that helped young Americans get work visas in New Zealand and Australia. I had been watching a lot of Flight of the Conchords at the time and enjoyed Bret and Jemaine’s sense of humor and accents.  

(That Flight of the Conchords reference is further proof of how awesome Jamie is. Love this girl.)

I loved the story of the double meaning of the phrase "getting rooted" and after reading what that meant in New Zealand, the title of the book took on an entirely new meaning. Why did you decide to use that as your title?

My title is another way of laughing at myself. One night I was brushing my teeth with my flatmate and I said, “I'm really excited to live in this house because I have been travelling a lot and I just need to settle down, stop travelling and get rooted.” I had meant get rooted in the America way to settle down, lay down roots. He started choking on his toothbrush and asked if I was hitting on him. He explained to me what rooting meant in New Zealand.

I decided on Getting Rooted in New Zealand because it’s funny and the book is about rooting – both meanings of the word.

Do you keep in contact with any of the people you met in New Zealand?

I do keep in touch with most of the people I met in New Zealand. Some of my dearest friends in the world are in New Zealand. Although it is technically not home to me or my Scottish husband, it feels like home to us as a couple because that is where we met. We have been feeling homesick for New Zealand and really miss our friends there. 

Have you been back to visit New Zealand since you left with Grant? (Side note, Grant is this perfect Scottish man she met in New Zealand. Not to spoil the book but... I love love. :) Mostly Scottish love.)

We haven’t been able to go back to New Zealand or anywhere by plane. Although I was married in January 2012 in the UK, my marriage visa was not approved by the UK Border Agency until September 2012. During this time, I was not allowed to work, study, collect benefits or even leave because they had both my passport and my husband’s passport.  

I am currently on a visa in the UK called an Extension to Stay as the Spouse of a UK Citizen. This visa will expire in September 2014. We are deciding now if we should go through another round of visas for me to stay in the UK or if we want to try living somewhere else in the world.  We are seriously considering moving back to New Zealand next year. 

I can only speak from my own experience attempting to settle as a spouse of a UK Citizen.  I have personally found the level of bureaucracy in the UK makes the possible feel impossible.  

This is one the main reasons I decided to go ahead and publish Getting Rooted in New Zealand.  Due to my visa restrictions with the UK Border Agency, I’ve had no rights to work in the UK, but they couldn’t stop me from publishing my book. 

How was the wedding!? How is Grant? How is Scotland? How is your life now?

Courtesy of Jamie Baywood.
Sorry that they are the most attractive
couple in history.
I love being married to him. We got married in a little castle in his home town in Scotland at the beginning of year 2012. My husband wore a kilt. I was hoping for a white winter wedding, but we ended up getting sunshine in Scotland during the winter. It was a magical day; we had a rainbow over a loch, bunny rabbits hoping by us, birds chirping and a full moon reflecting on the loch at night. 

We still can’t understand each other if we aren’t in the same room and there are always new words or Scottish sayings I’m learning.  I hope I never stop swooning over his accent. Being married to a Scottish man is the best. I love the Scottish accent and all the words he uses. I love hearing wee in every sentence. He calls me wee fluffy bunny. I married the sweetest man. He is also incredibly kind, handsome and humble. 

Courtesy of Jamie Baywood.
This. Is. Perfect.
Time to move to New Zealand
to find my Scot.
Grant is very busy working on a MA in Landscape Architecture. This gives me a lot of time to work on promoting my book and attending book talks throughout the UK.For unwanted and complicated reasons we had to move to England last September. It was devastating to have to move out of Edinburgh to Sheffield, England last year for my husband graduate school. We will have to live here until summer 2014. We had more culture shock going from Scotland to England than anywhere else.

Rather than being displaced to a country I didn’t want to move to, I decided to be displaced with the goal of publishing. I’ve just completed a MA in Design. Designing, publishing and marketing my book was my dissertation project. 

I’ve never lived this far inland before. It makes me feel claustrophobic to be so far away from the ocean. I desperately miss the ocean and being warm at the beach. I really miss the warm, friendly nature of the people in the South Pacific. If money and visas weren’t an issue, (which they very much are) I’d love to go summer to summer between Edinburgh, Scotland and Auckland, New Zealand. 

What is your second book going to be about? When can we expect to get our hands on it?

I plan to divide my books by the countries I've lived in. My next book will be about attempting to settle in Scotland. I plan to publish it late 2014.


I would highly recommend this book to all of you! It was such a fun read and I loved getting to know Jamie through her book and through our emails. She's so cool and I cannot wait until her next book release. I want to follow her travels for as long as she writes them. :)

I would also like to thank Jamie for the opportunity to read her book and interview her. This was the best! Thanks again, Jamie!

Getting Rooted in New Zealand is available in paperback and ebook on Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1482601907

Jamie Baywood can be followed on the following sites:

Happy reading, lovelies! 


Sunday, November 17

Welcome to my redesigned blog! The beautiful Natalia from Elan the Blog created this gorgeous design for my blog and I love it so so much! It's exactly what I wanted for my blog. My dear dear friend helped me with my old design and it was so perfect for a jumping off point.

My friend Niki actually said it best a few months back. She turned to me and said, "You know, I love your blog. I love the lavender. I just feel like you write these really beautiful moody pieces and your blog looks like running through a springtime meadow." I agreed. It was a little too light.

When I saw a design Natalia did on one of my favorite blogs, the lovely Meg's Shake, Rattle, and Ramble, I emailed her immediately asking for a design. I loved her approach. She made everything so personal and so thorough. She sent me a list of questions asking all sorts of things about me and my style and how I wanted the blog to look. Out of my disjointed thoughts she made this wonderful space.

I said I wanted Moody without feeling heavy. Inspired and hopeful but still with a sort of peaceful gloom. Like a rainy day with a warm cup of coffee. Your window is open and the skies are grey but your book or your writing is keeping you inspired. A lovely moodiness.

Mixture of light and dark greys. Hints of royal purple. Lilac. Turquoise.

Almost old world literary. Dracula/ Dorian Grey/ Gatsby. Moody and dark. Ink on a page. I think she nailed it :) I love it.

She made me a moodboard out of some pins I had on my blog pinboard that I think really nail the style of my blog and my mind.

Courtesy Elan Designs
It was just what I wanted and this blog is the perfect design. I hope you like the redesign! Go leave Natalia's blog some love too! She's great. Thank you so much Natalia!

females of the world interview

Friday, November 15

Hello lovelies! Last week I was asked to do an interview about my writing over on an amazing blog called Females of the World. I talk about my inspirations, offer some advice to other writers, and talk a bit about my NaNoWriMo project. Please head over to their blog to see my full interview, but here's a little snippet :)

(1) When did you first realise that you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always loved to read. When I was little my favorite part of my house was a corner nook wedged in between our bookshelf and the couch. I’d curl myself around my favorite pillow, snuggle under my blankets and read for hours on end. Words have always transfixed me and haunted me even from a young age. I remember writing little bits of my imagination on pages in my room and during school even when I was about 6 or 7.

I guess the real catalyst was in the fourth grade. Every day we had “writer’s workshops” where we had free time to write whatever we wanted, get two peer edits, and submit a final draft that was laminated for a portfolio. It felt so good and so natural to feel words spilling out of my fingertips and I always felt so proud to get those laminated pages back. I even wrote a longer book called “The Test” that was bound for me. Feeling a book that I wrote in my hand and being able to take it home and set it on the shelf next to my favorite books was the best feeling in the world. I’ve been writing ever since.

(2) We’ve read your novel excerpt on your blog and are already totally gripped by your story. Is this the first time you’ve taken part in NaNoWriMo? How long have you been working on this particular story?

Thank you for reading my blog! I always planned to give NaNo a try for years, ever since I heard about it. I tried my first year in college but couldn’t find the time to write among the drudgery of my actual homework. This is the first time I’ve given my all to NaNoWriMo. I decided to do it this year because this is probably the only year I’ll have that I am only working and not trying to balance school as well. It’s been very challenging but somehow I’ve kept my word count up!

I’ve been working on this particular story for a few years. I hadn’t written anything prior to NaNoWriMo but I’ve had the entire story on my mind since I was 17 and the events I’m writing about began happening. I knew it was meant to be a book. I’ve outlined the story and drafted the characters intensely since I turned 20. Outlining stories and getting characters exact before I begin the writing process has been a hard process. But now they feel so entirely engrained in my mind. They are more real to me than some people in my life.

Be sure to go check out the rest of my interview here! Go leave this great blog a little love and enjoy the interview :)

the time it hurt the most

Wednesday, November 13

I wasn't excited for your arrival that night, your trek from Idaho to come to the concert I paid for for your birthday. I wasn't excited, but I still made myself pretty. I painted my face, slid into a red dress, chose torturous heels for what I knew to be a two hour standing concert. All for you. What a fool.

You'd told me earlier in the week if there were anyone else I could take, you wouldn't mind. It was a three hour drive after all.

It was your birthday present, after all.

don't come if you don't want to, i can't force you. 

See you in a few hours.

I got myself ready, swallowed hollow tears, and waited for your car to round into my cul du sac. You got out of your car, offered me a hug. I pretended to fumble with my coat.

You said I looked nice.

I volunteered to drive.

The car ride was awkward and stilted. You asked if I had heard that Gagnam style thing. I snarked that I didn't live under a rock. You smelled nice and I hated you for it. Your scent hung off of your clothes, the scent I tried to steal during the rocky months where you kept me purposefully on shifting ground as you continued living your life, leaving me to doggy paddle through mine. You occasionally swung me a lifeline, touched my skin as if bringing me back to shore, then pushed me further out to sea. You kept me on a hook for four months. I visited your house a few times then.

I stole shirts from your hamper, shoving them down my pillow case and caressing them when I got home to my empty bed. I missed your basement home in our long forgotten college town. I missed waking up beside you, the smell of sleep and twisted sheets in the air. My bed smelled like me and soon I drowned your shirt in my scent from overwear. Each time I saw you I stole a new shirt. But your smell never stayed long. In my car that October day, I staring ferociously forward, you staring at my marble cheek, your smell was choking me.

Stop making me miss you. Stop smelling like you. Stop smelling like the person I thought you were. Don't look at me like that. Stop ripping me apart. Tell me we'll be ok. Go to hell. Love me again.

Please. Please. 

I didn't speak a word. You spoke. I drove. I shook. I lost myself. You kill me. You killed me.

In line for the concert, I stood by myself as you ran back to the car for something. My luck, the only other people I knew at this concert were in front of me in line. He asked me how I was. Were you my boyfriend. I didn't know how to answer. I pretended to choke on my gum. He said he liked my dress. His girlfriend said we were a cute couple. I choked on my heart.

In the sweltering venue, we stood close to the stage. You dwarfed me and suddenly hugged me. I felt small. Not protected small. Not loved small. Dejected, used small.

"I haven't hugged you yet. You look wonderful, baby. I'm the luckiest guy in the room. I'm glad I came."

Were you?

With each song you pressed yourself harder into my back, pulled at my waist a little tighter, held my hand like you meant it. Kissed my head like you cared for me. I wept silently. No one in a crowded concert hall wiped my tears away. Your touch was like ice burning into my skin. I shook like a leaf in hollow winter winds. You swayed me with the songs. Your touch lied. I cried silently and alone, our love song playing around us for the last time.

After the show we sat in my car in my driveway. My neck was killing from arching during the concert. My back was knotted like a hundred year old tree. My stupid heels cut into my toes. You pulled me onto your lap and started rubbing my back. You didn't see my smeared mascara. You just held your mouth to mine and pressed my head into yours. You snapped my neck in two. My heart exploded.

You reached for my skirt. I pushed you away. You ran your hand across my thigh. I tried to stop crying but your empty kisses swallowed my tears. "Come on, baby. I haven't seen you in so long."

you haven't loved me for longer than that.
i guess i won't see you on new year, will i?
Don't say that, Em. You don't know that.
how dare you. 
Don't you think this is hard for me too? I wish I could still love you.
i don't care if this is hard for you. you deserve pain. if i have to rely on sleeping pills to erase you at night so i can breathe for five hours of sleep, you deserve pain.
We don't have to talk about this now. Come here, I'll rub your back. I'll kiss it all away.

You were brave to say that. You were brave to think I'd ever let you use me or touch me again. I gave you everything. You took it all without a second thought.

i don't believe you ever loved me.
Don't say that.
i don't.
Stop, Emma.
if you ever loved me, you would have broken just my heart. You didn't need to shatter my entire world too. 
i hate you.
did you ever love me?
It was a long year together.

I screamed into your chest. For hours I screamed. You finally watched me crying. You finally saw the mess you made. And you tried to start crying with me. I beat my hands on your chest. Your apologies fell on deaf, broken ears.

I'll stay the night you said. I don't think you should be alone.
i've been alone for four months. you know that. leave. 

You slowly left my car. I pulled into my garage. I shut the door. Locked it tight. I could smell you pressed on my skin and I gagged. Peering through my blinds I saw you sitting in your car. You looked surprised that I shot you down. That hurt the most. You still didn't think you were wrong.

While you drove toward your home in those tired early morning hours I sat on my floor in a heap of your old shirts, ripping them apart with dagger tears, smelling nothing for the first time in months.

via *

act three scene one

Monday, November 11

Here's my second little preview of my Nano project :) Enjoy the scene and let me know what you think.

Current word count: 17,108

via *

Let Paint Be Paint

Sunday, November 10

A few months ago I wrote a piece about my uncle Rod who is an amazing artist. As I was with my family this weekend I noticed that his legs were splattered with paint. I loved the sight of this. It reminded me of dedication, of how Fitzgerald and Shakespeare must have lived and breathed with ink under their nails. How Monet and Picasso moved in a cloud of paint and inspiration. I loved the idea of him never leaving the world of his work long enough to wash the paint off, but living constantly inspired and feeling ideas crawling across his skin. He must have the most beautiful mind, I thought. He must look at everything as though it were a painting waiting to be awoken.

Then a video of his work appeared on my Facebook. I sat transfixed by the flowing paint, by his words of inspiration, dedication, and liberation. This man. My uncle. He's my hero. He has decided to dedicate his life to his passion. Come hell or high water he will be gracefully coating canvases in paint and molding the world around him with his work. His work is so gorgeous. It's breathtaking. It's like nothing I have ever seen and I am lucky enough to be related to him. His confidence in his work, his persistence, his goodness in general is my biggest inspiration. His drive and the fact that he gets so entirely lost in his work is gorgeous.

Here is one of his paintings, just for a taste. You can also see my previous post about his work to see more.

via Art by Rod Heiss
Here is the video. Please please please spend a little time with my uncle and his paint. If you need inspiration, here it is, lovelies.

"When I slip into these shoes, clarity replaces confusion. Peace replaces fear. And excitement replaces routine."

Art is pure magic. It is pure love thrust onto a canvas. My uncle gave a beautiful talk at my grandmother's funeral. He said some beautiful things. 

"The one thing that makes a great piece of art is desire. The desire to connect and to share."

He discussed the elements of a great painting and a great artist.

"Technique. You must keep an open mind to techniques of other artists. Just because it's different or something you wouldn't do doesn't mean it's wrong.

Composition. You must bring forms together with flow and balance and harmony.

Dedication. When you look at good art, you feel their passion. When difficulties come, you keep moving forward."

All of this I feel when I see him, when I see this video, and when I see his work in real life. He is remarkable and the greatest creative inspiration I have in my life. At the end of his talk he said this sentence:

"A masterpiece is something that is transcendent."

He is transcendent. His work is transcendent. Creativity is transcendent. 

Please watch the video and love. Check out his gorgeous website and get to know him. You can find his website here and his Facebook page here. Go forth and spread creative love.


Saturday, November 9

I feel bled dry of words. All of the pretty words that usually swim in my head seem to have drowned or have gotten out of the pool in my thoughts. I have this horrible habit of stopping writing when I feel like what I am writing is crap. I know it's a process. I know it will not be Gatsby on the first draft. I know that this is a challenge to get words on paper so I can move forward from there. But I feel dried out and like I'm sabotaging myself.

Writing a novel is hard. It's tedious and draining. Not every word is beautiful, not all the dialogue is clean. I never understood when authors said it took them years to get a novel ready for publication and that by the time they got to their final draft so much had changed. But now I do. John Green said that in his first draft of Looking for Alaska, there was not even a hint of Pudge's obsession with last words. THIS IS A CENTRAL THEME IN THE BOOK. I couldn't imagine the book without it. How far that book came. How far mine will come.

It's amazing. Even when I feel bled dry of them, I find my solace in words. I write out my frustrations. I read books for more. I listen to music, engraining the lyrics on my skin. I want to talk to people. Watch words form on their lips. Trace them against their skin.

I guess I'm a writer after all.

sharing headspace

Thursday, November 7

I'm a few days into NaNoWriMo now and so far it's going pretty well. I've beaten my daily word goal, and I've failed making my daily word goal. I didn't stay too mad at myself for not making my goal some days, but as the days go by pressure is increasing in my own head. It's getting easier to slide back into this world of my characters since I am spending so much time there but it feels like running a marathon. During the writing I get an intense runners high but the moment the writing stops I want to sleep for three days and never write again. This is an intense challenge. It's testing me and pushing me a lot.

It's an interesting feeling to feel like I never really leave the world of my characters. I feel constantly inspired and I see them moving around in my head constantly. They are becoming more real in my head. I feel Piper, Eli, and Thom sitting on my shoulders whispering in my ears for me to write. "You have to tell our story, Emma. Why are you watching Reign (WHICH BY THE WAY IS AWESOME) at a time like this? Get my story on that paper, damn it!" That's Piper. She's needy. Eli is more forgiving. He lets me take coffee and reading breaks.

Rainbow Rowell talked a lot about staying in the world of her book during the time she did NaNoWriMo while she wrote Fangirl, which I talked about in this post. She said it helped her to never leave their world for too long because it kept her in the zone. She said, "During NaNoWriMo, I never left the world of the book long enough to lose momentum."

She also said this gem:

"I mean, I still didn't know if what I'd written was any good. (I hadn't even read it all in one piece!) But I was so excited about the novel, I wanted to write every day. And even when I wasn't writing, my brain was still working on the story." 

Same here, girl. Same here. I'm excited to be writing this novel finally and pushing all of it out onto a page. I'm following Rainbow's lead and not rereading my story at all, just keep pushing forward. The month is barely beginning and I'm already growing in motivation and fear that I won't possibly find energy or time to keep up with writing about 2000 words a day.

But these characters are not leaving me alone. Sharing headspace with them is exhausting and thrilling. They feel so real to me. Their lives feel real and powerful. I can't wait to share more with you :)

Current word count: 10,206

My mind after writing all day. What even is sleep?
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NaNo Preview 1

Wednesday, November 6

Here is the first snippet of the novel I'm working on this year for NaNoWriMo! Let me know what you think. So far, so good!

Total word count to date: 8,179 of 50,000 words completed.

*a note about this selection. Thom is not a vampire. That right there is a metaphor. Taking things out of context is hard sometimes. I will not be writing Twilight the sequel. K. Back to regularly scheduled writing.

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The Book Thief

Sunday, November 3

Some books transcend everything, don't they? They change the way you think. The way you write. The way you see the world. They change everything. It gets to the point where you feel incomplete without that book living on your nightstand staring at you every night. When you see other people reading the book you get jealous that they are spending time with your best friends among the pages, cradling the spine like you cradle those characters in your heart. The book has become so completely yours and so completely you that you simultaneously want to share your love for it and keep every single copy in the known world under your bed for yourself.

This is The Book Thief. The untouchable, perfect, heartbreaking, groundbreaking work of art that changed everything for me.

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I read this book for the first time when I was about 15. I was immediately pulled in to this world as I watched Death walk alongside these characters and sit by their side in the snowy streets of Molching, Germany. I was immediately in love. I had never read words like this before in my life. The way death described things. The way he saw the world. I wanted to stand with him as he told me his stories, to see the world in the colors he saw it in.


First the colors.
Then the humans.
That's usually how I see things.
Or at least, how I try.
***Here is a small fact***
You are going to die.

I loved the voice Death had. The tired, dry, sarcastic wit. The love he feels for Liesel. For Rudy. For them all. Death's narration makes this book. The way he describes colors. Every time I reread this book I find a new description to love. The first one I underlined? The eyes of a dead pilot the color of coffee stains.

I've never seen description like this. It's an amazing feeling to pick up a book, not realizing how different you will be after you read it. This book changed my writing entirely. I began going description crazy and I saw the world around me twist and turn while I read some passages over and over again. I had never been so taken by a book. 

When I got to the last fifty pages or so, I slowed down. I had tears cascading down my cheeks and I felt like I would never be able to breathe normally ever again. It took me two hours to pull myself through that mountain range of rubble and I emerged on the other side tear-stained, exhausted, and wholly swept away. It still takes me about two and a half hours to read those last pages. Those are some of the most gorgeously brutal words I have ever read.

I've never felt so attached to characters. They feel like family. Because the author spends so much time letting you get to know these characters, you cannot help falling in love with them. He tells you stories that really have no consequence in the grand scale of the story. They don't move plot forward per se, but they make your heart ache for these people. Rudy with his lemon hair, Liesel's love of words and hours spent on the floor of a secret library, Hans breathing with his accordion, Rosa's hidden moments of tender love with Hans, Max sweating fear every hour of the day. Lord, I can't even type about this book without getting tears in my eyes.

This book gives me the most visceral reaction of any book I've ever read. I feel my entire body pulsing when I read it and when I even think about the words. If I ever feel the need to cry, I can think of a scene in the book between Max and Liesel and in seconds glass tears will fall. If I need a laugh, I think of Liesel and Rudy saumensching with each other in the school yard or along the Amper River. Even the name of my blog comes from this book. Liesel reports the weather to Max one morning so the hidden Jew can have a small taste of the sky.

"The sky is blue today, Max, and there is a big long cloud, and it's stretched out, like a rope. At the end of it, the sun is like a yellow hole..."

Max, at that moment, knew that only a child could have given him a weather report like that. On the wall, he painted a long, tightly knotted rope with a dripping yellow sun at the end of it, as if you could dive right into it. On the ropy could, he drew two figures- a thin girl and a withered Jew- and they were walking, arms balanced, toward that dripping sun. Beneath the picture, he wrote the following sentence.

It was a Monday, and they walked on a tightrope to the sun.

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I've spent a lot of time thinking about why this book has affected me so much; enough to lead me to read it once a year, each year highlighting and underlining more and more of my beloved well-loved copy. (I would read it more but I physically and emotionally don't think I could handle it.)

I think at my core, I connected with Liesel and her love of words. Her inspiring, motivating, life changing dedication to reading and writing and taking control of her own world through words. The power of language is a theme that is so central in this book and that is also a big part of my own life. Nothing moves me more than the power of language and watching this little girl fall in love with words reminds me of myself discovering words and using them as a weapon, a crutch, an embrace, a friend. I see so much of me in Liesel. I see me in her feeling of displacement and her deep love for those she cares most about. Her quiet watchfulness and powerful soul. I love that little girl. 

I love all of those characters. I am in love with Max Vandenburg. Hans and Rosa are my second parents. Rudy. To quote Death:

He does something to me, that boy. Every time. It's his only detriment. He steps on my heart. He makes me cry.

This book kills me. This book steps on my heart. This book makes me cry. 

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I was so nervous when I heard this book was going to become a movie. Actually, screw nervous. I was livid. I was in my bathtub reading the book when I decided to look at Tumblr tags, hoping to find some pretty fan art. Instead I found a cast list and filming locations. My heart burst open. No, I thought, this is The Book Thief. Not the Movie Thief. Where will the words be? No. These are my characters. They'll have to leave out so much. No. No. No.

I remained furious for months. I got protective and angry. I didn't want people to start claiming this book that was my lifeblood as their own after seeing a movie and never holding these characters in their hands. I wanted the movie to be done right, to do justice to these words that are so ingrained into me. I didn't want people who I felt didn't deserve this book to be able to see the movie and cry. They don't know these characters like me, they don't deserve to sit and cry with me. They will cry because of the Holocaust, I will cry because I'll be watching my family and my heart on the screen. 

Then I saw the trailer. And lost it completely. It blew me away. I was crying within the first three seconds. I was so happy because it looked exactly like what I always pictured, but also different enough to let me keep my images of these people and places alive in my brain. I calmed down with being so militant about this book being mine. My perception of this book and the meaning I have assigned to it will always be mine and nobody will ever touch that. But now the world will see why I go so crazy over this. They will get to meet my loves. 

I am so scared to see this movie. If watching the trailers is any inclination, I will be a horrible sobbing mess the entire time. I went to a movie last weekend and saw the trailer for the first time on the big screen and immediately started weeping, much to the embarrassment of my sister, brother in law, grandmother, and fellow movie-goers. My mom flat out refuses to see the movie with me because I won't be able to stop crying throughout. That's alright, I'd rather brave it alone. 

This was a whirlwind to write. I'm once again tear stained and exhausted; it's like I just finished reading the book. I love this book to pieces, with every beat of my heart and I am so happy to share my love of this book with you all. 

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Friday, November 1

Welcome to November! Can you believe it? Hate to sound cliche but where did this year go?

Halloween was not the best day but I refuse to let that come between me and having a wonderful November. Things to carry into November:
  • I am taking part in NaNoWriMo this year. Have you guys heard of this? It's short for National Novel Writing Month. Write a novel (50,000 words) in one month. This is my first time really trying and I'm honestly very scared. But some of my absolute favorite books started out as NaNo novels (Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. WHAT) so I cannot wait to try my hand at it. I'll never have a November where I'm not in school and have as much open time so the time is now. That averages out to about 1600 words a day. Oy vey. Anyone else doing this challenge this year? Let me know! We can support each other! I'll also post some updates on here for some feedback and support. GO TEAM.
  • I want this month to be full of inspiration. Lord knows I'm gonna need constant inspiration to stay fresh for NaNoWriMo. Let's talk about favorite books, favorite music, all the favorites! And more importantly, why are they favorites? What makes them stick out in our heads? Let's talk about it.
  • I'm meeting with my academic advisor at the U on Monday. Guys, school is so close I can taste it. I'm getting more nervous as time goes on and it gets closer. I hate that the mind does that. I really cannot wait to start a new chapter of my life. I want to leave everything that made me miserable or ill at ease behind and start over as me, not as preconceived me. 
  • Why would anyone ever feel embarrassed by emotions they are feeling or have felt? Feelings matter. If someone makes fun of your feelings or antagonizes you about the, that's their problem. If they call you a liar or waste their breath berating you, leave them behind. Hold on to good memories and feelings even if the present is weighing you down. They can't take your past away.
  • I want to stop letting every little thing live and breed under my skin. I'm so young, things are so unimportant in the long run. Maybe not unimportant but... inconsequential. People were right. Those huge problems in high school are nothing now. I remember how big they were then but now they mean nothing and I am fine when I though I never would be. This gives me me comfort when life gets rocky. In one month, it won't matter at all. 
  • Diets are for squares and jerks. Bring on Thanksgiving dinner.
Happy November, lovelies. It's always been a favorite of mine.

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