a year in words and a top ten

Tuesday, December 31

My biggest resolution for this year was to read 50 books in 2013. There were a lot of times when I got busy or tired that I didn't think I could do it but today I finished book number 50! I'm so happy I was able to complete this goal; I'm incredibly proud. I read a total of 13,333 pages this year. Longest book was 666 pages, shortest book was 64.

On top of that I made a goal to read one classic book a month. Did that too :)

This was a great year for words and I know I won't have another year like this for a long time because of how busy I'll be in school for approximately 900 years until I have all of my degrees done.

I read a lot, I wrote even more. I completed NaNoWriMo guys. I wrote a novel in one month. I wrote 50,202 words in. one. month. I've downplayed that a lot but DAMN. That is so many words, so much life was told for my characters and much more will still be told but that's a hell of a good start. 25 chapters, 83 single spaced pages on Word. I'm so happy I could burst.

I hope you all had a wonderful year of reading and writing and that you continue to read and write into 2014 as I plan to do, even if school sometimes gets in the way. It's like Lemony Snicket says, “As I'm sure you know, a good night's sleep helps you perform well in school, and so if you are a student, you should always get a good night's sleep unless you have come to the good part of your book, and then you should stay up all night and let your schoolwork fall by the wayside, a phrase which means "flunk."

Here are my top ten books of 2013. I'll try to order them as best I can. And I won't include rereads, because if I'm going to do that, The Book Thief would win every year and that just wouldn't be fair :)

Top Ten Books of 2013-

1. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
It's a book about writing and finding yourself, a lot like what my year consisted of. It touched my heart and inspired me.
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2. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
Gorgeous, lush, delicate language that haunted me long after I finished reading it. I found myself just as obsessed with the Lisbon Girls as the boys who narrated the story.

3. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Just the most fun and romantic book I read this year. I've never fallen harder for a romantic book and this one truly stayed with me and made me dream of my Paris Prince.

4. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
I cannot believe it took me as long as it did to read this book but man was it moving. To see this girl grow up on the pages and to hear her voice and her life moving around after she is gone was one of the most profound experiences I've ever had as a reader.

5. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
This was the book I read this year that kept me up at night, freaked out of my wits. I couldn't eve start a new book for a few days after this book ended because I was still thinking about this book. Flynn is an amazing writer. Her stories weave about like no others.

6. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
The sort of sequel to Anna, this book was just as sweet and lovely. How Stephanie Perkins is able to make such playful and deep romance without ever being corny is amazing to me. I cannot wait for her next book to come out this year! I wrote some more feelings about her here. 

7. Maus 1 & 2 by Art Spiegelman
Graphic novel about his father's time in Auchwitz and the time leading up to the war. Groundbreaking, moving, inspiring, unforgettable. I loved how the story of his father's time was told while also telling the story of Art writing the book and interviewing his father. Their relationship broke my heart.

8. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Rainbow Rowell cannot be stopped, nor should she be. She is clever and her writing is like a dream. This book hooked me so much and made me feel a whole lot of things. It was truly a perfect book. I wrote more words about it here and here. 

9. The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
Besides being one of the funniest humans on planet Earth, Maureen Johnson can write one hell of a story. This book series felt made for me. London, ghost stories, boarding school, history, attractive British boys. This is the second book in the series and I loved it. I'm still horribly mad about the end but hopefully book three will be out soon!

10. The 13 Clocks by James Thurber
This book was recommended to me by my grandmother's friend. He loaned me his very old copy that smelled like words and history and I was excited to dive in. It's a short little fairy tale but the words in this book are some of the most beautiful I've ever read. There were sentences in there that made me cry just by reading them. Truly an amazing little book that inspired the writer and the child in me.

And there we have it! I cannot wait to see what books I'll find myself curling up with in 2014. Hopefully they will be just as good as the books I read this year! 

Full list of the books I read can be found on my Goodreads. Happy reading, lovelies. I hope your New Year is phenomenal and safe. Mine promises to be a great night. :)

Christmas Cracker Tag

Tuesday, December 24

I was tagged by my darling pen pal Lauren of The Emerald Dove to take part in this jolly little Christmas tag. I haven't even spoken of Christmas on this blog yet so here we go!

Answer all ten questions below
Make sure to add The Christmas Cracker Tag logo (above) somewhere in your post 
Tag as many bloggers as you like to do the tag 
Comment on the blogs you have tagged to let them know!

One: What's on your Christmas list?
Always books, money... my list has gotten much less specific as I've gotten older. I like things from the heart. Also, for someone to pay my tuition. That.

Two: What's on your Christmas Day agenda?
Family time, yo. I spend Christmas day with my mom's side of the family playing games and eating and talking and loving on each other. All the cookies shall be mine. We open presents, eat breakfast, and head to my Grandpa's house. This season will be a special treat because my aunt, who is my favorite person alive, will be in town.

Three: How much Christmas shopping have you done?
I got all of mine done like three weeks ago. I like to do it all at once. I have zero patience for holiday retail.

Four: What's your biggest ever surprise gift?
I don't know if I've ever been hugely surprised by a gift. My mom gives the best presents because I never tell her a specific thing, she just finds things that are perfect for me. I'm always surprised to see what she gets me. They are little oddities that are always so special.

Five: When do you usually put up your Christmas tree?
Um... like the second week of December? I'd prefer to have it up on the first, but Christmas is so busy, isn't it?

Six: Do you have a special outfit planned for Christmas day?
Blue sheer high-low dress with black lace on the side, leather jacket, grey boots. Looking supreme.

Seven: Do you have any plans for boxing day?
Coffee with an out of town friend and a movie with my family :)

Eight: When did you stop believing in Santa?
I don't remember an exact age. Probably age seven. My parents were divorced that year and I didn't buy that Santa deposited my presents at two separate houses.

Nine: What's your favorite Christmas scent?
I wear it all year but it's only available at Christmas. I adore Winter Candy Apple from Bath and Body Works. It's my smell.

Ten: What do you love most about Christmas?
Being able to relax and breathe for a few days. Family. Delicious food and just the general atmosphere of the season. The snow and fireplaces are so romantic.

Please feel free to take part in this tag! I'd love to hear about all of your Christmas traditions!

january 1

Sunday, December 22

I haven't slept in days anticipating your arrival.

You'll be home in a few short sleeps and then where will we be? I think back on us and all we have seen and said and dreamed and lost. That night years ago, the soft April snow, the kiss that never was. In your letters you said it should have been me in high school. You should have kissed me that night. You shouldn't have left even though you had to. I tried to stay neutral because in all honesty, you scare me.

You scare me. You take all of the breath from these hollow lungs.

My best friend, my brother, a boy that I loved to distraction. A boy whose name still splinters in my heart. A boy I've been able to hide from for two years, but now here you come. A boy I loved simultaneously with another boy. A boy I needed and need.

Oh god, what will happen? I can see everything in our past so so clearly. I can see it projected onto the snow where I always see you.

Do you remember the nights in the auditorium? Driving me to that boy's house who hurt me and flashing your lights in his window? Do you remember playing war on my porch? Do you remember my tears falling on that porch?

Drive me to Agloe.


Thursday, December 19

The snow outside smells of
distance and chill,
while the snow blooming
in the bath smells of roses
and something deeper.

You still hang on my skin,
brushing off into the water.
sinking into the depths and 
sneaking to the surface to
kiss my forearm.

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i love gypsy life

Tuesday, December 17

(random ramblings ahead.)

After spending five days back at my old house, I am now back in Salt Lake permanently. Today was my last day of work at Barnes and Noble which means no more commuting! more time to myself! back to writing! school in less than a month! I took a little blog vacation for my last five days of work- five very long days and long hours of work. But now I am back and am so ready for a few weeks of relaxing and job securing before school starts in January.


- I was offered early acceptance to the Honors College at the University of Utah! I applied for admittance and was told that I was applying for next fall but then last week I got an email saying I was chosen for early admittance! I'm so happy! I now have to sort of mess up my perfectly placed schedule but that's alright. I'm just ready to be back on a campus, around working minds and shifting gears.

- I read so much in these past five days and it felt like heaven to feel my brain jogging around the words on the page. I'm so close to my goal of reading 50 books this year and being able to find time to just read about 5 books in 5 days helped push me toward the goal. I'm at 48 books right now!

- Can Game of Thrones just be on again already?

- I know it might appear that my constant repetition of my love and feeling of content at being single right now may make it seem that I am trying horribly to compensate for the true pain of being single but it's the exact opposite. I feel so at home in my own skin and in my new house that I cannot keep from talking about it. My stomach feels dizzy from excitement and bubbling opportunity in the future. The near future. Reaching this exact spot in my life has been my mantra for the past two years. I knew if I could just get here I would be deliriously happy. One person cannot be this happy. An internal bubbling happy that still lets me retain my constant layer of melancholy (ha). I feel connected to my artistry while still being happy.

I still feel myself missing my past boys. Sometimes terribly so. Sometimes I still cry about it. But you know? I'm happy I still do. They meant something and I deserve as many tears as my body still produces for them. Right now is my time to be me and let myself heal in my way. To write them all out so I can breathe them out of my system.

And even in my comfortable isolation, I could still use some male touch every now and again. Someone find me under the mistletoe. Steal a kiss from me. Hold my hand. Touch the small of my back. Whisper into my neck. Touch. Taste. Have fun.

"I don't want to be alone forever, but I love gypsy life." - Lady GaGa

contented isolation

Wednesday, December 11

Human nature quakes for connection
like leaves quivering on a branch,
the skin quivering under a shaking
breath placed seductively in
the crevice under your jawline.

Atoms push and pause,
connecting and unwinding
along a garish carousel circling
into a tapestry of anonymous faces,
flushing to harmonize with the
stranger across from them.

The isolated cries of
the not so isolated sweethearts
and their drifting hearts floating to
another beat. Pump pump. Pump pump.
Silence. Isolationism at its finest
even among the flashing lights of
the ferris wheel in the center of the fair.

It's like candy when you find it,
the last bright red lick melting
against your teeth and sticking in your gums.
The sweet almost sickening taste
crawling in your taste buds,
inching down your esophagus,
icing your stomach lining until you feel ill.

Illness and disbelief at the peace
living in your veins and breeding
in your cells. Disconnection
from it all, tearing yourself from
the breast of connection makes everything
silent. You're ok. You're alive.
You're alone and content.
And, god, it is delicious.

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two lovely thoughts today

Monday, December 9

"Anyone who doesn't write doesn't know how wonderful it is; I used to bemoan the fact that I couldn't draw at all, but now I am more happy that I can at least write. And if I haven't any talent for writing books or newspaper articles, well, then I can always write for myself." 

"I can shake off everything if I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn. But, and that is the great question, will I ever be able to write anything great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer? I hope so, oh, I hope so very much, for I can recapture everything when I write, my thoughts, my ideals, and my fantasies."

- Anne Frank

remembrance and morphine

Friday, December 6

I'm not ready to write him.
Not ready to let him come
back to life.
I don't want to remember the good.
I don't want to relive the bad.
If I don't cry about it soon,
tears will have to start seeping
from every pore
and fall from my lashes like
snowflakes blown off of telephone wires,
buzzing, alive, alone.

I miss the beautiful destruction.
I miss throwing myself onto
hot coals for another human being.
Feeling another's glowing embers
embedded into my flesh,
eating it away.

But I do not miss any of them.
I don't miss the first one I loved,
his turquoise smell or loaded kisses.
I don't miss the second,
his day-old scruff and deceit.
I don't miss the third,
lovely and loving and lost.

Even though I don't miss them,
there are some I cannot bring
myself to write.
Still too fresh, still too bright,
still too real and sharp.
The pen has turned into an IV,
and it's full of remembrance
instead of morphine.

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Wednesday, December 4

More Thom and Piper today. This is the prologue to their story. Enjoy, lovelies.

I spot him the moment he walks in to the room, his Gatsby smile as bright as ever. His eyes scan the room, barely resting on one face for longer than a moment before moving to the next one. Until his eyes find mine. His charming smile becomes smaller, sincere, the corners of his eyes crinkling with memory and time. I return the smile and raise my hand in a wave, bringing my hand back on to my heart. His hand finds his heart too as he offers a small bow in my direction. I chuckle and hold his gaze until someone grabs his arm, pulling him into a noisy conversation about his latest achievement. 

A small infinity had passed between us, a roller coaster spanning years. Although much had changed, I was still seventeen when he looked at me, nervous and loving- an old friend who had been there through it all. Although the love had changed and shifted, the tiny string still held us together. And as he continued his conversation with another old friend, I watched him talk, watched him work the room. The piece of hair still stuck up defiantly from the back of his head. I knew he would be livid when he glanced in a reflective surface to find his hair out of place. 

I’m glad it is over. I am glad I have moved on. I am also glad that there is still a tiny ache in my heart when I see him. That ache is pure and real. I earned that ache.

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Monday, December 2

I'm sorry I cannot quiet your mind
like the lies screaming from the
box before your bed.
I'm sorry the channel flipping
silences your past
while my face wakes up
the past you never wanted.
I only wanted to be heard
and you wanted to be alone.
Who do I choose to care for?
You or me?
People ask me if I want children.
I've already raised myself,
And cannot repeat the process.
I'm not angry. Or Bitter.
I find power in independence.
I just wish I didn't have to.

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Sunday, December 1

Everyone says it every year but legitimately where did this year go? How can it already be December? How can I be four months away from turning 22? Nothing makes any sense at ALL.

I'm in such a different place than I thought I would be last January looking toward the future. A lot is so different but it is all wonderful beyond words.
  • I finished NaNoWriMo!! I completed it. I did it. I wrote 50,000 words in one month! (50,202 to be exact.) This was so hard and frustrated and I have no idea how I did it but I am so thankful I decided to do this challenge. It got me writing every day which is a huge deal. My novel isn't quite done yet but I'm homing to have it finished by the end of January so I can take a few months to edit it and hopefully by this time next year it will be ready to send out to publishers! 
  • Yesterday I moved into my new house in Salt Lake. Guys. It has been an ordeal to get moved out. Two times my plans fell through and I started thinking that I just wasn't meant to move out. But then like a pot of gold, there sat my perfect little yellow house at the end of the rainbow. It's perfect and old and lovely and my room is the greatest. Pictures to follow :)
  • School starts again in about a month. WHAT. This is another one that felt like it took so long to get to. I've been aching to be back in school and at the U of U for about a year and a half and now after all that time, I'm starting in January. English degree here I come! 
  • Growing up = the pits. The fun foam pits, but also snake filled death trap pits. I love independence and living on my own but I'm so terrified of it all as well. I've been having so much growing up anxiety with moving and everything. All I want to do is be alone and sit in my bed and watch Boy Meets World (No joke, that's how I spent my first night in my new place last night and it was terrific.) The prospect of making new friends and forging new romances and all getting a new job in a few weeks makes me sick. I have enough friends, thanks. I don't need romance, thanks. (Unless you are Shawn Hunter in which case ALWAYS). I know all of this is the anxiety talking and I will feel better soon. I'll feel better after my very adult phone call to Comcast tomorrow to get internet set up in my new house. Ugh adult life.
December is so magical and wonderful and exciting. Everyone is happy and full of the holiday spirit and I'm starting to fee it seeping into my bones too. I can't wait to see what else changes this month. Let's do this!

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