Against all odds.

I have decided that “against all odds” is something I’m going to add to statements about goals I’ve accomplished. In the same way that when you read a fortune cookie, you add the phrase “in bed” to make it more humorous, I’m adding that phase to make the statement more accurate.

From what I have read, it seems that all writers could do this. Personally, it gives me a sense of fortitude that I didn’t think I possessed.

There is this great line in a song by VNV Main that says, “though the past, the unwanted memories are holding on to you, truth you find through your adversity with defend you, as all the powers in the universe conspire to carry you.”

I find this to be such a great reminder in so many ways. I’d rather not say exactly what it means to me. What does it mean to you?

Turning YA

For two years now, I have been participating in NaNoWriMo. For those of you who do not know, November is National Novel Writing Month, hence the name NaNoWriMo. The goal for the month of November is to write 50,000 words, which is generally accepted to be the length of a novel. However, if you dig a little further, that is just the word count that makes a novella too long to be a novella anymore, so then it becomes a novel. For the purposes of publishing though, 50,000 words is too damn short to be much of anything other than a book for 8th graders, which is great, if that’s what you want to write.

It’s not what I want to write.

After completion of NaNoWriMo 2013, I spent the next 6 months finishing the story, getting it nearly finished at about 75,000 words, which is still about 20,000 words shorter than I’d like. Then I put it away.

Pondering on the successes of authors I’d like to emulate (Roth, Collins, Clare, Rowling), it dawned on me that they all have one thing in common: they were writing for young adults. Then it hit me! I should make my story YA!

I am now in the process of removing all of the adult themes, situations, and words. I’ve changed my main character to a single thirty something mother of one, to a virginal 18 year old fresh out of high school. It’s surprising how well it works! I’ve killed my darlings, as they say, but at least some version of me gets to wear bedazzled jeans with a cell phone in the back pocket.

Here’s my deal.

I’m a writer who writes.  I was a repressed writer for a long time.  Self-repressed of course, and don’t you know that is the worst kind of repression?  Sometimes I write like I am from Minnesota.  I’m not.  I’m from California, born and raised, which since my rejection from UCR, I realize is not very diverse or exciting.

Let me share some back story, so that you can get an idea of what a long road it has been up to the point of “I regret to inform you…”

I was born.  Just kidding.  I mean, I WAS born, but for the purposes of this blog post, I won’t be going back quite that far.  I graduated high school in 1999 and moved to Lexington, KY, a place where being from California actually does make me interesting and exciting.

I fought with myself and my dad about being an English major and after hemming and hawing on my part, I finally just switched majors to English and Philosophy.  After five years of deplorable academic performance, my dad was through paying for school even though I was nearly done, and I moved back to CA where I was once again boring.

Then I met a guy, I got married, I had a kid, I went to school to be a massage therapist.  I put writing on the back burner.  Then I got divorced and  became a single mom.  I moved in with my mom and went back to school.  I can’t put enough emphasis on this point: I went back to school in order to complete the degree requirements for both BAs so that I could get into an MFA program.  It has taken me the last three years jumping through hoops, taking out student loans, taking classes online, taking classes at CSUSB while working and taking care of my son to finish up these last 18 or so credits.

I did all of this for the MFA.  I applied at UCR, knowing that my writing is good even though my history is not, and relying on CSUSB as my fall back.  I was not admitted into the MFA program at UCR, and the same day that I received the news, I applied to CSUSB.  A week later, I got a call from the office of Graduate Admissions to inform me that the program had closed.  She asked me if I wanted my application fee refunded.  I said no.

Balance has always been an issue in my life.  Now I am trying to find the balance between what I know I need to do for myself and my son financially, and what I need to do for myself practically.  How do I work enough to pay the bills and still have time to write?  How do a pursue a career that doesn’t completely derail my dream?

After reading the bios of the current graduate students at UCR, I felt very uninteresting and unaccomplished.  But I have a story (or two or three) worth telling, and I am going to tell it (them).

That’s my deal.

Hello world!

After being continually told by the authors of numerous articles on being a successful writer to “write a blog” and “have an internet presence”, I have decided to “write a blog”.  I will do my best to do as Veronica Roth admonishes (somewhere on her awesome blog) and not say anything stupid.

I guess if you are going to have an internet presence, it should probably be a positive one.  However, I do not promise not to vent, or to be sadmad (just saw Home today- fantastic movie!), or to word vomit from time to time.  Everyone gets sick sometimes, and apparently, I puke out of my fingers.  Okay, enough of that!

So, welcome to my blog.  I hope that you find it enjoyable and uplifting and like you have just walked through a white fluffy cloud made of kittens.  In absence of that, I hope that you have at least found it entertaining.

Also, after having read a few articles about writing for the web, I have also shortened my text blocks to make this blog easier on your eyes!  Happy reading!