Sunday, July 25, 2010

My latest inspiration...

A few weeks ago, I was taking a walk. A nice long walk. In the ridiculous heat and humidity that Ohio's been experiencing lately (so I was using this walk not only as exercise, but to get used to being out in the heat and humidity for Dublin Irish Festival). As I usually do, I took my iPod along with me and I was listening to Smart Mouths, a podcast I've gotten rather obsessed with over the last few months. It makes me laugh and think and it's great to listen to while I'm at work.


I was listening to an old episode of Smart Mouths, because I was still trying to get caught up. They were talking about the earthquake in Haiti and what everyone was doing to help, how our generation is so into activism and isn't that great.

Then...bang. That one bit, just as I was turning the corner to go down another street...I got an idea. Really, the idea was kind of unrelated to Haiti (actually, ENTIRELY unrelated to Haiti), but fully related to the activism of my generation. Idea. Really exciting idea. As I normally do when I get really excited about a story idea, which hasn't happened in quite a while now, I started talking myself through narrative. A character popped into my head, a story, an attitude. By the time I got home...I was psyched. And anyone who had probably passed me during that last part of my walk probably thought I was insane, because I'm pretty sure I was actually mumbling to myself...lips moving and all.

Since then, I've written a good 6k of this new idea, most of that just over the last week or so (it took me a little while to get the ideas sorted out in a notebook). I'm REALLY excited about this idea. I haven't been this excited about a novel idea since I was writing Nor the Battle's sequel. I don't know why, but I couldn't really find that buzz again. I have now.

And, just for your listening pleasure, here's a bit of what Smart Mouths is like. There's probably a smidgen of language in this clip, because there almost always is, but I can't remember. This is from their YouTube account.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

TDTL Day 30: Your Reflection in the Mirror

Well, look at that. Day 30. I can't believe this is the last letter. It's been quite the experience. I'm really glad I did this. It got me writing something on a daily basis. It got me thinking. And it got me posting on here regularly, which I'd been kind of failing at before.

So, without further ado...the final letter (it's kind of short...sorry).


Dear Reflection,

Look how far you've come since a year ago. I can't believe that just a year ago, there were 100 extra pounds on you. And in just a couple of months, you'll look even better. I'm so amazed when I look back at pictures of how you used to be.

Don't stop dreaming. Don't stop trying to reach your goals. If you can lose 100 pounds in a year, you can do anything. You can be happy with how you look. You can be the person you want to be. You can have the courage to put yourself out there. You can find love.

It's just a matter of time. Just you wait and see.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

TDTL Day 29: The Person You Want to Tell Everything To, But Are Too Afraid To

Dear Person I Want to Tell Everything To,

There's something to be said for fear. Fear means hesitance. I think we're all afraid to say what we really think, because we don't want to hurt you (or, perhaps, we don't want to hurt ourselves, as the case may be). The sad thing is that you really don't notice anything. In all of this, you're pretty much blissfully unaware.

This makes it particularly difficult. Maybe if you truly noticed something, then I could really talk to you about it, because I wouldn't be so afraid of hurting you. I don't want to hurt you. I don't want to be the one who tells you the truth, the one who breaks the illusion. But out of all of us, I'm one of the ones most likely to want to clue you in. Which is quite the burden to bear.

Maybe someday down the road, I'll tell you. But for now, I like you best when you're unaware of all this. There's slightly less drama.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

TDTL Day 28: Someone That Changed Your Life

Dear Brittney,

When I was in eighth grade, I had the honor of being chosen as part of the West Central Team. I knew it was going to be the experience of a lifetime. I knew it was going to change my life and my view of the world.

What I didn't fully expect was how attached I would grow to you. I knew I would be very fond of my buddy, but you were quite something else. You taught me more in that one year than I ever could have anticipated. Your smile brightened my day more than anyone else's ever could.

It never mattered that you couldn't talk--you communicated in a way all your own. I loved spending those days at the school just sitting with you, helping with your therapy. The day I remember most of all, though, was your class trip to the pumpkin patch. You rode on my lap during the hayride. You gave me the most brilliant smile that day. It was a bittersweet afternoon, because that was the same day I learned you'd be switching classes. I was heartbroken when I thought we'd be separated. But I got to switch with you in the end.

You probably don't know how much you meant to me--and still mean to me. You taught me how to be happy with the very simplest things in life--singing silly songs and rollar skating in a rink. Laughs shared on a playground. Playing with blocks and taking a hayride though a pumpkin patch. A smile. Even if you don't remember me, know that I remember you and still think about you. I know I always will.

Monday, July 12, 2010

TDTL Day 27: The Friendliest Person You Knew for Only One Day

Dear Girl from the Homeless Family,

Your family stayed a few days at our church once a few years ago, during the church shelter cycle. You probably are all on your feet by now, living a great life somewhere. I hope you are.

Anyway, one of the nights you guys were staying at the church, I was part of the youth group that was helping out. There were a few of us there that got to help entertain all you kids. Somehow, you and I ended up doing arts and crafts together with a few of the others. Which was fine by me, because I love arts and crafts. You made me smile--you were so cheerful and liked talking a lot. I had a lot of fun that evening hanging out with you and everyone else.

You crocheted a chain for me while trying to teach me how to crochet with no hook. I didn't learn how to do that, but I still have the chain hanging out my bulletin board. It meant a lot to me coming from you. I'll never forget how content you were with a life most would imagine as hell. You were content with the minimum, grateful to have a safe haven for that week and movies to watch and yarn with which to crochet.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

TDTL Day 26: The Last Person You Made a Pinky Promise To

Dear Heather,

I don't know you're actually the last person I made a pinky promise to, but I'm willing to make an educated guess that you were. You were my best friend right around that time that we would have been growing out of that particular ritual.

We--the whole group of us girls from that time--were big fans of secrets and promises. Not a bad thing. It amused us all at the time. But I wonder if all that dependancy on each other for those few years is why we so willingly grew apart in high school. Maybe that doesn't make sense, but I do wonder why we grow apart so effectively. Remember that little secret "club" we formed for the group in seventh grade? That cause more drama than good. I doubt it really had to do with the "club" exactly, but it made things about fifty times worse during disagreements. Ah, drama. Our group was so good at it back then.

TDTL Day 25: The Person You Know Is Going Through the Worst of Times

I promise I wrote this last night. But after the spontaneous roadtrip I took with a couple friends yesterday, I pretty much only had enough energy to scratch this down in my notebook before passing out.


Dear J,

I don't know you really as well as I should, considering we worked together for as long as we did. You've always seemed so quiet and reserved. That doesn't change how sorry I am about your mom, though. I was pretty shocked when I found out last week. That's a terrible situation to be in and I wish there was more we all could do for you.

This is really short, but I honestly don't know what to say. Your mom, you, and your whole family are in my thoughts and prayers. I know that's probably cold comfort, but it's all I can do. I hope things get better for all of you and that you can at least cherish the time you have together.

Friday, July 9, 2010

TDTL Day 24: The Person That Gave You Your Favorite Memory

Dear Fellow WKHS Bandies of the '01-'02 Season,

I'm such a band geek that I would choose this as my favorite memory. I admit that. But, seriously, the memory of that Bloom-Carroll contest just really can't be beat. It was the perfect addition to that amazing season.

I can still remember the feeling of standing off to the side with all of you before and during the awards presentation. At attention. It was our last chance to qualify for States that year. I remember how loudly we cheered with the other bands before the ceremony started. And then we just had to wait. We on one trophy, then another. We knew we'd gotten 1st Place AA about thirty seconds before they announced it simply by process of elimination. We could hardly stand still right then and at the same time we could hardly dare to believe it. And that was great. But then we won Grand Champion, making WKHS marching band history. We couldn't stop screaming. I think the only thing that made us scream louder was getting that One rating. I remember that all pretense of order was lost at that moment and we rushed the directors. I seem to recall blowing out my voice that night.

That was one of the most exciting moments of my four years in that band. I don't think I'll ever forget the nerves turning to excitement, the feeling that nothing could go wrong. No matter how hard we tried to recreate that moment over the years, nothing else came close.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

TDTL Day 23: The Last Person You Kissed

Dear D,

You were my first kiss. You were also my last kiss (romantic, I mean. I can't really remember which family member or very close friend I last simply kissed on the cheek in greeting or farewell or congratulations or any of that). That sounds really lame, because we broke up so long ago. You were also my last boyfriend. It was after you broke up with me that things started going a little downhill for me health-wise, although I didn't realize it until just a couple years ago. I just kind of gave up. I don't really think I really had a broken heart. I feel like I got over the initial sting too fast for it to be a legitimately broken heart. Maybe just a slightly cracked heart. Whatever happened, I just seemed to give up after you. It would probably take some painful talking/writing/therapy to really figure out the why and it just doesn't seem to matter as much anymore.

Perhaps I lost my confidence. I was never a huge instigator in romantic or potentially romantic relationships. You kissed me first, not the other way around. I don't remember who instigated the last kiss, but it was probably you too. Don't get me wrong, I've wanted to kiss other guys since you. I just feel stupid starting it. Who knows? Maybe now that I'm getting control of my life again I'll find someone else. Maybe my confidence will grow and I'll instigate something in a relationship for once. Whatever happens, thanks for being my first kiss. I just hope you're not also my last for much longer.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

TDTL Day 22: Someone You Want to Give a Second Chance to

Dear J,

You might not believe this, because I don't think I ever told you, but there was a time when I kind of avoided hanging out with you alone. It wasn't that you weren't a great friend (you were one of my best and I was very sad when you moved away). It wasn't that I didn't like hanging out with you at all. I did. It was just usually better if there were others around.

The reason why this was might seem stupid, so here goes. You always invited yourself over, which was annoying. We always had to play with the dollhouse, which felt silly. We were in middle school. I got tired of playing dollhouse pretty quickly, but you didn't. You always insisted. I don't know why, but you were very demanding about it. Sometimes it seemed like your way or the highway.

But you were a great friend overall, don't get me wrong. I loved having you as a friend. You watched out for me and kept a couple girls in our year from harrassing me. You made me laugh. I loved hanging out with you most of the time. We kept in touch for a while after you moved away. We got back in touch recently and I'm glad for that. I just wish those stupid feelings regarding the dollhouse and the you-inviting-yourself-over didn't always taint the fonder memories of the other times so much.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

TDTL Day 21: Someone You Judged By First Impression

Dear Nate,

The very first day of freshman year, in BESS 1 class, I was forced to sit next to you. I didn't really want to at first, mostly because I had no idea who you were (I'd been sitting with someone I knew until her friend convinced me to trade places). And then you started talking to me. I had no idea what to do or say, because 1) again, I didn't know you at all, and 2) frankly, your stories were downright weird. First day of freshman year, third period, and I'm sitting next to this kid who tells me the same two stories over and over again (something about Mary Poppins and something about a skateboard and a truck, if I recall correctly). Honestly, I was a little weirded out. I couldn't wait for the BESS 1 block to end so I could make my escape.

But then, to my dismay, who should show up at our lunch table but the same kid. I didn't know what to do, so I think I smiled and nodded a lot (a gesture I've done around you for many years since). And then Spanish class. And English 1. Apparently I couldn't get away. Ever.

Who would have thought, on that first day of freshman year, that we'd be such great friends ten years later. Neither of us killed each other in high school (although, admittedly, we came close). We survived the BESS 1 trip to the zoo together, band trips and bus break-downs, birthday parties, class projects, many more first days of school. Graduation. You gave me a stupid nickname and convinced our Spanish teacher to call me that one day (Papita Frita...really?!). We went to prom in the same group. Our birthdays are only five days apart.

I guess we were destined to be friends. You certainly make life a little more interesting. I just wonder what all would be different had I managed to escape you that first day, if I'd kept that first impression as my truth. I'll tell you what--I would have missed out on a great friend.

Monday, July 5, 2010

TDTL Day 20: The One That Broke Your Heart the Hardest

Dear C and E,

It was a long time ago and it probably didn't seem that big of a deal to you guys at the time. It might even sound really petty. Even I have moved on--I got over what you did a long time ago (say, about two months after you did it). But at the time, I was devastated.

You knew I was vulnerable. You knew I counted on both of you for something at least resembling friendship. I was at my all-time emotional low and you two decided to knock me down a few more notches (well, you two and Anne, but I didn't expect much better from her).

It sucks that you didn't seem to think of me highly enough to realize I had feelings. I can't believe how little regard you had for me. I should have just let you guys go. I shouldn't have tried to be your friends again. No friends at all, even no not-really-friends friends, would have been better than the hurt you put me through. Those weeks when you ignored me may well have been the best of those years for me--had I not been so preoccupied by what you had done to deliberately hurt me.

TDTL Day 19: Someone That Pesters Your Mind (Good or Bad)

Happy 4th of July, all of you Americans! I hope everyone enjoyed spending some time with loved ones, cooking out, fireworks (I saw two different displays over the course of this weekend, so I count it a success), and all those other fun things that scream USA. I probably blew my diet a little. We'll see how bad the damage was come weigh-in on Tuesday, but I'm not holding out much hope...

And now...the letter!


Dear Characters,

Yeah, that means you. All of you. Chloe and Alethea; Jack, Kim, Clio, Ella, Gloria; Anna and Samantha and Katherine; Lela and Edmund; even those I haven't really interacted much with in a while (yes, that means you, Liz and Morgan and Jackie and Ruth). I know you all need and/or want my attention. I know you all have stories to tell. But you really all need to calm down. I can't concentrate when you're all screaming and carrying on and competing for attention. I'll get to you all. Promise.

Liz, Jackie, Morgan, and Ruth--thank you for being the calmest for the time being. I appreciate it. Thank you for understanding that I'm trying to get your stories out there. Now if you could just stop trying to convince me that another Children of the Rose story is necessary, that would be great. Let someone else have the limelight for a while, huh?

Anna, Samantha, and Katherine--I'm working on it. Thank you for being patient while I try to figure things out. I know you'll still be there when I'm ready and I love you for that. And thanks for reminding me of your presence on a frequent, but not quite irritating, basis. It's actually helpful. Reminds me that you're still there.

Jack, Clio, Kim, Gloria, and Ella--you all just need to chill out. You yell and scream and act like five-year-olds when I'm not giving you all of my attention. Share the spotlight and play nice with the other characters, I beg of you.

Lela and Edmund, thanks for realizing that I can't focus on you just yet. And thanks for gently reminding me you're there from time to time. I look forward to when I can actually spend time with you and your story.

Chloe and Alethea, thanks for coming back. Don't go away again. I need you both and I need you to keep talking. And if you could keep the others in line, that would be great.

Now, can we all play nice?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

TDTL Day 18: The Person You Wish You Could Be

Dear Person I Wish I Could Be,

Why do we spend ninety percent of our time wishing to be someone else? Or something more? Or just different? I'm guilty of it too, and I know this.

I wish I could be skinnier. I wish the thighs would shrink and the belly roll would disappear. Even though I don't like bikinis, I wish I had the option to wear one and not feel like an idiot. I wish losing weight was as easy for me as it seems to be for everyone else.

I wish I could finally get published. I wish to finally see my name on a book spine in a bookstore. I wish that I could know that people I've never met or seen or been introduced to or am connected to in any way were reading a story I'd written.

I wish I was braver. I wish I had the courage to do crazy things like go to NYC on a moment's notice and blow and entire paycheck and sit in the rain outside a ticket office all night to try to score tickets to a favorite musical. I wish I'd had enough confidence to apply for more than one out-of-state job. I wish I wish more comfortable breaking out of my bubble.

I wish I was more organized. My room is a mess. I should really do something about that.

TDTL Day 17: Somone From Your Childhood

Dear Victoria,

You were my first real best friend. I'd had good friends before--ones that I spent a lot of time with, or went to their birthday parties, or had sleepovers with--but you were the first friend that I think I counted as my BEST. We were attached at the hip. For the most part, people didn't see one of us without the other. I remember us only fighting once, and it was a doozy, but that was the only time. We hung out at each others' houses. Our sisters became best friends too.

My world fell apart when you moved away. That may sound melodramatic, and maybe it is, but that's how it felt. Third grade ended, you moved away, and my world ended. You see, everyone else in our grade had formed their little social cliques that year. I'd missed that completely (and didn't even realize I had until a few months later), because it had always been the two of us. So after you moved away and summer ended and fourth grade started, that was when my life started sucking. A lot. Those three years--fourth, fifth, and sixth grades--were the worst of my life, because I had no friends and I despised the only clique that would tolerate me. Sometimes I wonder how everything would have been different if you hadn't left.

I don't blame you. It's not like you had a choice. It's just something I've thought about. And I love the friends I've had since middle school, and the friends I have now. I wouldn't give them up for anything. I may not have had them if you'd stayed. I guess that's how things need to happen. You need to lose one loved thing to gain another.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

TDTL Day 16: Someone Not From Your State/Country

Dear A,

Here's the thing. I know you hate where you live. I know you find it boring and dull and too far away from anything (which isn't true, by the way, because you're probably about eight hours closer to NYC than I am). Seriously, everyone gets that. You never shut up about it. And you know I feel this way, because I've told you all this, but you just don't seem to get it.

Nearly everyone hates something about where they live and/or grew up. It's natural. It's what almost always happens. For example, I've lived in Ohio my whole life (and Columbus all the time I wasn't in college). I hate that the weather is so indecisive--one minute it can be 90 degrees and sunny without a cloud in the sky, the next it can be a torrential rainstorm. I hate that the only big event I ever seem to be near is OSU football games (this isn't really true either, since we do get some decent shows that come through here). It's boring here in Ohio too most of the time, you know. It's not just your state. We always have construction. The traffic sucks (partly because of the construction, partly because no one can drive).

Here's the thing--you can't just always whine. One, because the whining doesn't change anything. Two, because you annoy the crap out of everyone around you. You have two choices, really. You can stop complaining and just get away as soon as you can. Or you can stop complaining and come to terms with it. Either way, you have to stop complaining. I came to terms with Ohio, and found out I actually love it. You can do whatever you want--I really don't care either way. But, please, at the very least, stop making every word that comes out of your mouth a complaint about your home state.

I know you're not going to heed this advice. You never actually listen to any of us. But, still, I had to try.

TDTL Day 15: The Person You Miss the Most

This is my very first fail. I actually didn't write this letter yesterday. I kind of forgot. In my defense, however, yesterday was my birthday, so I was a little preoccupied. To make up for this, I wrote two letters today. So now I'm back on track.


Dear Kathleen,

It's so weird not seeing or talking to you every day. And, yeah, I gte that it's been over a year since we were last roomies, but it's still strange. For four years, I saw you almost everyday. We had fun as roomies. Our adventures were many. Remember the box wall at 3am during finals? Remember the Founders Hall murder game and the all-night finals week fire drill of Brookhart fame? Our numerous roadtrips to Cleveland for various theatrical events? Or how about when we filled the entire apartment with smoke when we failed epically at making sweet potato fries? Good times.

We've always joked that we have a very Elphaba-Galinda friendship and we were very much like them as roommates. And I've always realized how incredibly nerdy that sounds, but it's true. I guess at this point, then, we're at the post-Defying-Gravity bit of the story. We'll see each other again, but we're no longer seeing each other 24/7. We've said our goodbyes for now. (I'd say we were after the For Good bit, but neither one of us is about to, you know, melt. But whatever.)

I really miss you and we need to talk more. Our conversations have been so few and far between lately. We need to work on that.