What’s new with me? D&D.

Hi! Hello! Hail and well met! And happy International Tabletop Day!

A lot has changed since I last posted to this dusty, neglected old blog. (I don’t recommend scrolling too far back; who knows what cobwebs there are from my college years?)

There are a couple of big ones that I could mention – moving twice, going to Thailand again, writing a few more book drafts – but let’s skip to the chase:

I started playing D&D.

Continue reading

The Wretched Redemption of Writing

Writing has incredible healing properties.

And it can tear you apart limb from limb.

At least my broken hearts can be put to paper, my tears turned to words. At least chaos can turn inspiration, dreams can spin a story. I am happy with being a writer. I love finding creativity everywhere I look as I walk through my day.

But there must always be a shadowed side to balance the good.

I can use my pain to provoke a plot, but very rarely do I allow myself relive the experience entirely. Change the names, create the scenes, sprinkle in the symbolism, add some drama, make it fiction. Sometimes, even though the scenarios have evolved so drastically from an original occurance, the events hit too close to home.

A fictional character struggling with cancer can feel like an IRL family member fighting to live in the hospital.

A fictional suicide can be reminiscent of an IRL friend who could have easily succumbed to the depression and been lost.

And – my greatest problem right now – a fictional sacrificial killing (that I’m supposed to be covering in the next chapter of my novel) only makes me think of my beautiful cat that was brutally murdered this weekend.

I love writing. It is my escape, my gift, my passion. But every time I think of the fictional scene, reality invades in a fury. I don’t much like to skip around in this process but the scene is simply impossible for me to write right now.

And any tragic event is difficult enough to write into a novel already. I cry every time I kill off a character. I mourn every time a relationship ends. And I struggle to write fatal illnesses, miscarriages, and depression.

“Write what you know,” they say.

But if everyone followed that advice, we’d have no fiction to read because writing what you know is painful. Every fiction story we hold dear would simply be a conglomeration of non-fiction events. Nothing would provide our escape from reality anymore. Reading things I relate to is hard enough. Writing close to what I know borders on unbearable. There is a fine line between writing the real and writing real life. Crossing that line can be hugely detrimental to the writer (and sometimes the reader, but that’s our evil master plan anyway).

So the larger challenges we face: how do we write a real story without putting reality on paper? And how do we heal ourselves by writing through the pain?

Boy, Does Life Get in the Way

It’s so disappointing to me how I fall out of my most valued habits as life provides excuse after excuse.

A short list of habits I fell out of last semester:

1. I stopped doing ZUMBA or really working out at all.
2. I stopped writing in my journal after every day.
3. I stopped blogging every Friday. Sorry, guys.

And I could provide plenty of excuses for why this all happened. For instance, I got back into theatre and it totally consumed my nights. Or, I raised four baby kittens for weeks off campus and they were a beautiful hassle that kept me up at night. Or, my car broke down and I was injured. Or, I was sick more individual time these past few months than I have been in years and I just didn’t feel like it.

But really, they are just that. Excuses. And it’s already halfway through February.

And I could spout off those statistics you’ve heard before about how hard it is to form a habit and how easy it is to break one. But I won’t because you’ve probably heard them a thousand times, but I can attest to how true they are. A few minor events and instead of readjusting my life, I redirected my life. I don’t take the time to reschedule to fit both events in. No, I completely throw myself into the newest excuse and dedicate myself to that.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no regrets about throwing myself into raising those cats. They stressed me out but they cheered me up and blessed my life. They all four went to happy homes with people who loved them. I’d put them first all over again if the choice came ’round again.

But look at me now! They are growing up and in good places. And I have gotten behind on all of my personal progression. Now I have to entirely restructure and rebuild my habits.

I can do it. I know I can.

Because I have a lot of goals to look forward to this year. I’ll finish my second draft of Solstice and send it off to an editor. I’ll practice my art until I can really say I have my own style. I’ll get back into shape. I’m determined to do all of these things and more because I want to live life to the fullest. I have the means to succeed and the support and I can’t wait to make it there.

Bring it on, 2014.