Updates!

Hi everyone!

I was gone for a little while on vacation, which was SO fun. I’ll write more about that later, but let’s just say it was a much needed break. I feel pretty refreshed and ready to tackle this upcoming week which is going to be busy!

Anyways, instead of posting link after link after link, I thought I’d make one post with a bunch of different links! Before I left, I gave myself a permission slip to write whatever I wanted. I took off the pressure of assignment so I could embrace myself as a writer. I also posted a wrap-up on the Read-a-thon I participated in. Finally, on a more fun note, I did my first bookshelf tour! I have more than one bookshelf in my apartment, so you can look forward to more if you’re into that sort of thing.

I posted the song above (‘I Wanna Get Better’ by Bleachers) because I feel like it’s very representative of how I feel post-vacay and what I strive to do with my summer. It’s not just get better as in getting rid of bad habits, either. It’s more like get better overall. There’s both personal and professional things to work on. There always will be, but I’m giving improvement a more diligent focus. Also, this is just a good rock song. Props to you, Jack Antonoff.

Until next time, I’m out.

Read-a-thon Wrap Up

I definitely said in my post about the Read-A-Thon that I was going to try and update while on vacation. That didn’t happen. I purposefully didn’t bring my computer so I wouldn’t feel obligated to do work. Breaks are needed every now and then!

Anyways, I thought I’d share what I accomplished during the Read-a-Thon. Overall, I was successful and I read 1,478 pages. Phew! I definitely suffered from Read-a-thon burnout towards the end. I just couldn’t motivate myself to read. All I wanted to do was sleep!

Anyways, here are the books I read during the Read-a-Thon:

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
Feed by M.T. Anderson
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
The Elite by Kiera Cass
Monster by Walter Dean Myers
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

I didn’t read all of The Forgotten Garden during my week long binge. That would have been impressive I also started reading Richard III (unbeknownst to me, there’s a Richard II…so I guess I’ll go back and read that) and All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren.

I got lots of fun books on vacation and from cleaning out my parents bookshelves, so stay tuned for the May book haul!

Bookshelf Tour #1!

Yeah, there’s a number one in the title because this is not the only bookshelf I own. I, in fact, have three (for now), and as I’m starting to settle in, the books are starting to find their homes and since I live alone, I’m going to share it with the internet. It’s so fun. I know you’re jealous, lovely readers. Don’t try to hide it. 🙂

Anyways, let’s take a look at this bookshelf!

IMG_0001.JPG

As you can see by the picture, this is like a bookcase built into the wall. It really was the selling point of the apartment I rented. It’s such a pretty place to display collectables, and I definitely have some of those!

IMG_0002_2

On this top shelf we have the Best American Short Story collections starting in 2010. My goal, of course, is to have all ten from this decade which I have unofficially dubbed my writing decade. My friend Matt started me on this collection. Plus, I do not read enough short stories. I pick these up and read a few whenever which is nice. It’s no pressure reading!

As far as decorative knick knacks go, you can see I have my fully stocked TBR jar and a silly picture of some lovely friends I visited in DC last year. That picture makes me smile.

IMG_0003_2

Going down a shelf we have a lot more color! In the middle is my collection of Jane Austen books in the cloth bound Penguin Classics. They are just beautiful and I love them. On the right side is a picture of me and my friend Sarah at her wedding and the other side is a sentimental artifact. My grandmother, whom I never never met, collected little knick knacks like these flowers. My mom was going through them and was going to donate them when her and my dad moved, so I decided to save one. A little bit of Grandma Mayes on my shelf. It makes me happy.

IMG_0004_2

Third shelf! This is pretty self explanatory—these are all my hardcovers. I usually do not display books I haven’t read, but if it’s a nice hardcover, I’ve put it out.

IMG_0005_2

The penultimate shelf! (Wow, that word really is overused). Here I have more hardcovers and that cool letter ‘E’ is a gift from my friend Kristina. You might not be able to see, but there’s two little cranes surrounding the ‘E’. They’re beautiful and from Japan.

IMG_0006_2

Lastly, we have my Harry Potters. That’s right, all seven in hardback with dust jackets. I had to buy Order of the Phoenix second hand to replace the dust jacket that was lost in one move or another. The three-fold picture frame are silly pictures I have from college. Sarah and I on Halloween our senior year, my friend Matt (different than the one who gave me the short story collection) on another Halloween, and Katie and I on our Caribbean cruise (Spring Break Oh-Nine! Spring Break Oh-Nine!)

That’s it! There is another little storage area under that last shelf, but I mostly keep my cleaning supplies there and no one needs to see that. Ha!

Definitely more to come as far as bookshelves go. Until next time, I’m out.

Back to Basics

Why am I here?

Ah, an existential question. So healthy at 10:30 at night, right?

Well, I’m not really asking the ultimate “why am I here?” That’s not a nut I want to crack. Instead I’m asking why I’m here on the internet writing in this blog. Why did I start this little project almost a year ago?

Because I love writing.

I’ve often lamented on this digital space how I feel like my writing gets chopped to bits in the meat grinder of life. I can’t focus on it like I want to, not with 80+ kids needing to be educated, a super demanding boss, cakes to be decorated, and the fact that I don’t have a dishwasher in this new apartment. I have to do all my dishes by hand!

Seriously though, I think it’s easy to get caught up in life. And I also think it’s easy to get caught up in the shiny parts of writing and forget why you’re really here.

I think I’ve gotten caught up in the wrong things with writing. I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself to make a product. I want a book so badly. I’ve been close, so close I could practically feel the pages between my fingers, only to be let down. I’ve thought millions of time I had something worthwhile only to be shove it onto my hard drive to collect dust. I’ve long day dreamed seeing my book on a shelf in the Tattered Cover. I yearn like a blue collared worker in a Springsteen song who simply dreams of more.

But the focus isn’t the book. The focus should be me.

Now as self-centered as that sounds, it’s kind of true. Books come and go and it’s the writer that remains. I think of prolific people like Joyce Carol Oates, who produces a book a year. JCO puts the book on her shelf and continues to the next one.

I put a lot of stock in my first book since it’s my dream, my heart, and a thread of my soul I put out into the world. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but when I lose sight of myself as a writer in exchange for tunnel vision on one work, I’ll get nowhere. I say that I don’t want to write just one type of novel. I fear being boxed in as a writer more than anything, but the pressure I put on myself to work on a designated assignment created it’s own cage.

I think that’s why I rode the struggle bus for so long. I think that’s why I lost the zest for my story. I lost my knowledge of myself as a writer. I lost my love of just plain writing.

This blog seems to be my platform for constantly resolving to be better; I’ll spend less money, I’ll eat healthier food, I’ll make promises and goals that expand my horizons and make for semi-interesting reading. I seem to always want to improve, but yet I feel like I get nowhere.

Basically these blog-ramblings are my way of saying that I need to take a breath, take some of the pressure off myself, and just write. Write what I want. Write because it’s fun. Write to see what happens. Write a something that heals my personas bruises. Write something that heals someone else’s.

There’s no timeline and no expectations. The only thing to do is write.

A Week-long Read-a-thon! (my first ever)

Hi everyone! It’s Friday night and I’m off to party (re: go out for a drink and be in bed by 11:30), but I thought I’d post a quick update before I kicked off my reading challenge!

For some slightly insane reason, I challenged myself to read 100 books this year (which is separate from the list of 100 books I want to read before I turn 30). I’ve noticed from the book blogosphere and BookTube that Read-a-Thons seem to be a pretty standard way to get a good chunk of reading done and to challenge yourself. By now, you know I like a challenge.

What’s a Read-a-Thon you ask? It’s simply a week-long challenge to read more than you usually do. Instead of watching that episode of House Hunters International, or reading the Doge Twitter account, you promise yourself (and the internet) that you’ll read books instead (Doge will still be funny; House Hunters repeats a lot). A lot of Read-a-Thons are hosted by book blogs or book people on the internet and feature fun contests and challenges and Twitter wrap ups. At the end of the week you tally up your pages and give yourself a pat on the back.

This upcoming week, starting on Monday at 12:01 am and going until Sunday at 11:59 pm, is the Bout of Books Read-a-Thon. I will be on vacation starting Saturday, May 17th, so I won’t be able to fully participate in that one, since it ends on the 18th. The next one isn’t looking good either because it’s the week before school starts. However, this doesn’t mean I can’t do a Read-A-Thon! I’ve never done one, and there’s no time like the present. I’m almost to 50 books and this will help me get there before the end of June. I’m so close to the halfway point, I can smell it.

Starting Saturday at 12:01 am and going until Friday at 11:59 MST, I’ll be participating in my own Seven Day Reading Challenge! A lot of people put up extensive lists and goals and I’m not going to do that. I don’t want to be dragged down by a TBR during my first time. A girl doesn’t need that kind of pressure :). Instead, I just want to finish the two books I’ve started; The Forgotten Garden (who the $#*! is Nell’s mother?!) and Heart of Darkness (which, despite it’s short length, is taking FOREVER). After that, who knows, but as of Saturday, May 10th I can start counting pages towards my goal. Should be a fun time.

I’ll be updating on Twitter and Goodreads and I’ll post a short wrap-up of my stats (or at least try to) despite being on vacation. Until Monday, I’m out!