Badge of Honor 

Tomorrow I turn 29. I’m huge into birthdays, they’re great. But this year I’ve been having people making jokes that I’ll be turning 29 every year for the rest of my life. Let me clear somethings up, everyone is working in the same direction so why be intimidated by the human condition? We are all getting older and that’s okay. So I really don’t feel  uncomfortable about aging. 

But even more so, every year I get to be on this earth, living and loving is a good year. Every year I gain perspective and knowledge and I will not take any of that for granted. I think about who I was ten years ago and if I could find that 19 year old girl and tell her, “Dude, someday you’re going to really like yourself. You’re  going to like the way you think and the way you see the world, you’re even going to like the way you look but the reality of that will be mostly insignificant to you. Someday you are going to be surrounded by the best people. You’re going to be married to someone who keeps you on your toes and makes you laugh. You’re going to have friends that love you and always have your back.” At 19 I didn’t know what I didn’t know, I didn’t know I had a confidence issue, but I know now. 

If the rate of progression from 19 to 29 continues from 29 to 39, then I am going to be a fierce woman ideed. And I will continue to wear age with grace and honor. I will turn 30 next year and the year after that I will turn 31 and I will learn what I don’t know now. I will be a better person with that knowledge because growth is a beautiful thing and I will not take it for granted. 

Excerpt of My Novel

In the last month, I have started and failed to finish 3-4 blog posts. I’ve been deep in editing mode. After the 19th, I’m hoping to get back to posting regularly. But I also plan on starting another book and preparing for the baby’s arrival (We had our first ultrasound, that was super cool.) So, I might not be able to be as active as I’d like to be.

But because I really do hate not participating, I thought I’d share an excerpt of what I’m working on. Milla’s father has just helped move her into her freshman dorm room. They are alone after her roommate leaves. I hope you guys enjoy it.

 

The Patel’s herded out the door, leaving Milla and her father alone.

The dorm room seemed to shrink, the cinder block walls encroaching. There was the smell of Naomi’s fabric softener mingled with the scent of stale air. It made the space more foreign, more frightening. Milla and her father were alone before the other three arrived, but she felt the weight of their solitude now. He was all the family she had. They only had one another. Worry knotted in her stomach. She would be here and her father would be there. She wondered if he would be okay, the house was so quiet. Then she wondered if she would be okay, the dorm was so loud.

“It doesn’t feel right to leave you,” her father said. His growling voice grating the words into her.

“I know.”

He took a deep breath, his large chest and belly broadening. “I’m reminded of your first day of school.”

She looked at him. He was not one to share his thoughts or emotions; her strong and capable father, breaking open his chest and giving her a glimpse of what was inside.

“I bought you a dress, I thought you would want to look pretty, but you would not wear it.” A smile pulled at his bearded face, a twinkle in his brown eyes. “You did let me put your hair in pigtails, but I’ve never been good at that.”

She struggled to imagine her father parting her hair and putting the elastics in. Her brain couldn’t wrap itself around the image.

“Then I took you to your school and I left you there.” He shook his head. “I felt like I had left my heart behind. I sat in my car wondering how I could survive.” He cupped her face in his worn hands, his smile turned sad. “But I did survive and I will again.”

“Don’t worry about me, Pops,” she whispered, her voice struggling past the tightness in her throat.

He nodded. “I will. Pay attention in your classes.” Pressing his lips to her forehead, he kissed her. “I am only an hour away and I will answer my phone at any time.”

“Thanks,” the word was hardly a word. It was more of a breath.

They hugged and he left.

Milla understood what he meant. Her heart was walking down the hallway, to an elevator and then to his truck. She was grateful to be alone. She climbed onto the strange bed that was her own. The sounds of car loads of people coming and going pushed through the closed door. She buried her face in her pillow. She cried into the smell of home.

Books for the Writer in Me

I want to give you folks a heads up on what is going on with me. There’s a writing conference I’m attending in the end of January. At this conference, I have an appointment with an agent. This is good news and I’m excited for it, but what it means is that I have tasks to accomplish. I’m deep in editing mode and doing research on etiquette for this kind of meeting. If anyone has experience or advice, please pass it on. I’m also working on tags and quick captivating synopsis. But I don’t want to continue neglecting all of you lovely people. So, I thought I would write an entry about books that make me want to write.

I’ve only read two books by Alice Hoffman: The Dovekeepers and The Museum of Extraordinary Things, but her prose are so lovely it makes me want to write. She has a way of telling a story with heartbreaking honesty that makes me want to improve my own skills. She writes period pieces, her settings come alive. I feel that there isn’t a lot of dialogue in her books and the pacing purposeful. Her characters are complete. They have lives before and after the story. They have faults and abilities. Alice Hoffman intimidates me and pushes me and I love her.

I just finished reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. It was a sweet book. Maybe it’s the pregnancy hormones, but I found myself crying from time to time and smiling at old friends’ antics. Joe in all her ambitious Tomboyish glory made me want to write.She has these great little writing rituals that send a signal to her family if she can be disturbed or not, it’s just all together adorable. The story of her development as a writer felt true. She went from writing what she thought people wanted to read, to writing the stories she needed to share. It’s a lesson I feel I’m still learning; a lesson only experience can teach me.

The way writing is described in Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl is a comforting inspiration. The way she explains those wonderful times when the words come faster than your fingers can get them on paper or the times when they fight against you. She shows how you need to reach out of your comfort zone in order to grow. She shows that success isn’t your readership or writing what you know you can do, it’s allowing yourself to fall on your face if it means progress.

What books or authors make you want to write? And any tips on my meeting coming up?

Thanks for stopping by!

NaNo Update 

I have 33,006 words written as of today. I feel like I’m at the end of a marathon that I’ve been sprinting through and I didn’t save any energy for the end. I’ll finish but this is  the struggle. 

NaNo Update

I ended writing at 24,004 words. It feels so successful!

This is the point in the project where I become convinced that it’s not an interesting story and switch to a different project or something along those lines, but this time I have a deadline. Things I didn’t plan for are happening and things I thought would be larger are not, but it’s happening like it needs to.

A good friend of mine started reading what I have so far, and she texted me out of the blue to tell me that she loves it, that my main character is awesome and she’s eating it up. My stomach flipped like I was going downhill. I needed that confidence.

Good luck to the rest of you kids!

NaNoWriMo Update 

The novel is coming along great. I’m all done with the first act and almost done with the second act. I’m not writing linear, but I’m not jumping around  that much. 

I finished yesterday at 17,853 words. I’m trying to gain ground, it’s looking more possible to end the story in 32,147 words than it did a couple days ago. I’m sure a major edit I will have is, “The pacing is jarring.”

Good luck to the rest of you!