A Love Letter to My Best Friend

Dear Best Friend (Ouranose),

I owe you a love letter – not even just because it’s on the prize list we were keeping for Nanowrimo. You are a good friend and very much a part of our little family. Since I don’t know how to write a proper “love” letter – I’m just going to say a lot of nice things because I think that’s pretty close to what I want to do here.

I LOVE THAT…

You are always willing to try new things, even if it scares you. I know that you probably do not feel that you’ve been doing this super well but listen – since I’ve known you, you’ve done a bunch of big deal things that you wouldn’t have done when I first met (interviewed) you. Note, these things are not in chronological order, it’s just a list of things as I remember them.

  1. You moved to [that one city] to help a friend even though you knew you weren’t ready and even though the plans for that move fell completely through. It wasn’t at all what you first described, but even knowing that, you did it anyway.
  2. You joined a fanfiction writing competition at my request even though you weren’t super confident in your writing. In addition to that, you’d never written that much or that often before and it was going to be difficult with your work hours. You still did it and you stuck with it for a couple of months! You grew so much as a writer, I couldn’t believe it!
  3. You did Coursera writing classes with me and shared your work with me even though you weren’t even sure if you liked writing or art more. You had no idea whether you were good enough or how you were going to stack up to my writing. I know it scared you but you came and you tried week after week for MONTHS! Four long months, actually. (We still technically have one class and a “cornerstone” project to do to finish that venture, but it’s not a big deal – we just did NANOWRIMO… Speaking of…)
  4. You participated in Nanowrimo 2018 after I asked if you would be interested! I had asked in 2017 but I don’t think you were ready at the time and so you declined, saying that “maybe next year” would work for you. For weeks you were nervous about it, questioning which project you wanted to do (Sci-fi or Fantasy) and doubted daily throughout November whether you had enough content or a decent enough story to even make it to 50,000 words – but here you are! You wrote **more** than 50K and are still adding to your word count. I know you’re disappointed that you didn’t finish your novel but you WON your first year. You know that you can do it. This is is your turning point – there’s no falling down after this.
  5. You challenged yourself on your own to start a writing blog and write every single day for a month. It was a brand new story every day for the month of October 2018. AND YOU DID IT! That means you did two months back-to-back of writing every single day. That’s wild, do you realize? You wrote SO MUCH – and you got better day after day, week after week, and MONTH AFTER MONTH. I’m so beyond proud of you. More than anyone, you deserve this break for December.
  6. You applied for the job you have now even though the doubts you had about it were longer than the reasons you needed the job. Still, you applied, and you followed through, and now you’re thinking of different ways to do this job well. Excitement is bubbling beneath the surface, more so than your worry, and it’s beautiful to see you that way.
  7. You scheduled that friend date that one time and you were going to go with that person for sure. You were ready and panicked, but ready. Yes, it was a relief when it got canceled, but that doesn’t change that you were committed. Sometimes, just being willing to take a risk and go outside of your comfort zone is amazing. You’re such a brave person.

I LOVE THAT…

You are growing into your sense of self. Over the last couple of years, you’ve started to recognize unhealthy behaviors and unhealthy relationships. You’re starting to make changes in your life so that you can succeed and sticking by the things you know to be true in you. Writing is a part of the life you want to live, mental stability and strong friendships are things that you want to enjoy, and this means making hard decisions. You’ve been making hard decisions for a long time and the stress of that is finally starting to pay off.

I LOVE THAT…

You fit so perfectly into our little family. It’s hard to find friends in people who don’t have children, and most of my other friendships with folks who didn’t have kids came to a halt. They don’t understand the prioritization of a parent and so there ends up being this inexplicable breakdown between these other people and me, leaving me stuck with parent friends that I can’t always relate to. But you not only treat my son like another friend and as an equal, but he’s come to love you as an older sister. I never have to worry that my being a mom is a burden to our friendship because it’s almost an important dynamic of our friendship. My husband loves you, my son loves you, and I love you too.

I LOVE THAT…

We have so much in common??? I didn’t even think I could have a friend that is so good to me and also so much like me. We’re both cynical in our own ways, but we’re also both really good people with good intentions. Our super powers are that we want to help others to the greatest capacity we can afford, but we also have big dreams that sometimes collide with those goals. From innocent anime to LGBTQ+ books to crafts, we share almost every interest. I cannot believe that I’ve gone so long without having such a good friend.

I LOVE THAT…

We keep each other on track. Whenever you’re struggling, I step into my mommy-friend shoes, but you’re just as quick to do the same to me. We’re good at different things in these roles, but it complimentary to our personalities. I am what you need, and you are what I need when it comes to emotional support (and everything else, tbh). It is just another layer of that awesome, healthy friendship that we have going here.

I love you ❤

I could probably go on for days and days about what a wonderful friendship we have, and how much you mean to me, but this is supposed to be a letter. Letters shouldn’t be the length of books, so I’m going to end the post here. I hope you have realized how truly loved and appreciated you are as a person, if not no one else, at least to me.

I can’t wait to start working on our joint project together and change the world with our words (and our teamwork effort art too).

Yours always,

 

—ab

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What are you reading?

~ ..,,;;::= THIS POST REQUIRES PARTICIPATION =::;;,,.. ~


I was just on Facebook, scrolling through my feed after having a mental breakdown about copyediting services and prices. Participating (and winning!) NaNoWriMo 2017 has essentially fried my brain in the absolute best way possible. One of those posts asking “what are you currently reading” popped up and it gave me an idea.

So I want to know what you are currently reading! I don’t want to know just the title, though. I want you to give me the title, the author, and a catchy one sentence summary that you think best describes the plot.

Here’s mine to start us off:

I am currently reading: Kids of Appetite.

The author is: David Arnold.

This book is basically about: a young man who embarks on a journey to spread his father’s around his city but gets implicated in a murder along the way.


 

You can copy and paste form below into your comments and let me know what you’re reading! This is a fun way to find recommendations for the winter season, best known for cuddling up in your blankets and reading without judgment for staying indoors all day. It is also a fantastic exercise to get us thinking creatively about work that isn’t ours.

Thanks for your participation, recommendations, and active reading! It’s people like you that keep me motivated to write (even when I feel like I’m never writing/posting enough).

Yours,

–ab


 

I am currently reading:

The author is:

This book is basically about:

Maybe It’s Me?

Oh Readers,

Success and failure are constructs that can suffocate us, and are far more rooted in personal perspective than actual clear-cut definitions. Your success isn’t my success, nor is it the other way around. Many of us share similar concepts of success and failures, and I’m sure somewhere someone reading this agrees with me when I say: this blog dances that line of failure.

When I went back to work, my time seemingly disappeared, and so I lost my way and my passion – as usually happens when I work. Writing is my passion and I want to do it professionally as my career desperately. So why is it so hard for me to put it first?

Oh yeah, because I am also passionate about being an advocate for those without voices and without confidence to use their voice. This is why I work with children, this is why I prioritize my child’s life and passions before my own. When I write I aim to give people something they can connect with and feel represented by, and so writing directly relates to how successful I feel when trying to give representation. The less I write, the less successful I feel.

So I don’t think about this blog unless I have a project to post. For example, I have a book review I have drafted on paper that I need to type and finalize for posting. I wanted desperately for this place to be my platform for original work, and now it’s just a way to get exposure for my work. I’ve had some exciting connections from this project but with its inactivity, those connections are simply that – connections. They are not leads, nor opportunities, and so I again find myself thinking of this blog as a failure.

In addition to being too caught up in the work I do each day with people I can share a smile and laugh with, I’ve been helping other writer friends and family through teaming up to take writing classes online with Coursera. Even though we have been auditing the class, we evaluate one another and push each other to be more than what we were on the last piece we wrote. I’ve had a ton of time to grow and improve in areas where I’ve been weak in the past. I am working on my writing but you cannot see it.

And that makes me feel like a failure too. There’s not many of you watching, if any anymore, but those that *are* watching see that I’ve disappeared. I don’t want to do that, and I don’t want this blog to end this way. Somehow, though, I don’t know how to dig myself out of a hole enough to genuinely promise more content.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m not going to be able to really focus on this the way I want until I have an income from my published work, or until my husband is making enough money for me to be a “homemaker” – if I ever choose to do only that with myself. I’ve always been a fan of seeing my work grow in front of my eyes, with others to share in the joy of success as defined by me, occasionally my peers. Perhaps that instant gratification is the addiction my anxiety has given me, or perhaps it is the product of my generation’s love of technology, but it is my obstacle to overcome.

I finish projects, but then I do nothing with them. I’ve a many pieces that just don’t feel right enough to be “that piece” that gives me my start in the world of literature and fiction. Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s not – but no matter what I’m doing (or not doing) with this blog, know that this isn’t the end of it. It’s not dying – it’s just taking a really long nap.

(And maybe I should too).

Yours,

xoxo -ab

Boy Does Time Fly… Like, Too Fast

Dear Readers,

Somehow my dream to prove I’m a capable writer through the art of blogging died – because somehow I can’t make myself compromise the real-life demands of traditional employment with my goals set in stone to write professionally. To all the authors and bloggers making a livable wage from writing *while* being employed elsewhere – lend my your strength!

My blog sort of died (yes, I would say died) in about a year. It really is terribly difficult to maintain a schedule when you have a job which maintains zero set scheduling. As I take another financial risk to have a less demanding position with a set schedule fulfilling part-time hours – MAYBE, and I don’t dare to say more than MAYBE, I will be able to get back into the writing I’d intended for this blog.

I think, unfortunately, I will have to create fresh projects to make it relevant once again. Though I am saddened at my failure, I do feel new life breathing over me. When I go long periods of time without writing it is as if I have lost a part of myself. I cannot exist without a venue to write and share the creative words bouncing around in my brain.

Writing is a lifestyle – and it has got to be my lifestyle.

Before ending this post, allow me to take a moment to thank the few people who have been straggling about my blog and reading bits of my work. Those lone views and likes are what keep my alive – honestly. It reminds me of my purpose and my aspirations when I feel surrounded by darkness. Knowing that somehow, someway, someone has found their way onto my blog – that sends a light into my life. So thank you for all that you do simply by browsing my content. You are fantastic, you are, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Until the next post,

Yours,

-ab

An Update on How Being Grown Up Really Sucks

Dear Readers:

When will I stop apologizing for being so irregular in my posting?

Or maybe the better question is when will I stop being irregular in my posting in the first place?

Being a grown up sucks. It means being smart, cautious, and – ugh – responsible! Writing is something I want to make a career out of someday but as a parent and a wife I also have to make sure that life is stable right now, and that everyone is happy right now. As such, that sort of means that things that make me happy fall to the wayside.

Between soccer, bowling, cub scouts, work, and that various volunteer projects I take on – it’s a surprise I have time to do anything self-fulfilling! If I’m really lucky I might get to watch some cartoons with the family during dinner time but every other minute of my day is pretty much taken up. In just the last week alone I’ve gone from just a wife, mother, and writer to a team manager, an assistant coach, a volunteer cub scout leader, a sort of counselor for nearly everyone I know, and personal assistant. It’s amazing how many different roles we can occupy for what is generally a fairly small group of people.

I’ve been reduced to living my life out of a planner just to know what I’m doing each day. I never used to need one – not even in high school! I was always Miss-have-it-together. I went from organized to “booked.”

Actual “booked” too.

A family member called me at work to discuss an important family issue… to which I replied – “I only have a half hour window between work and soccer.” That’s the kind of person I’ve become these days. I feel like a major douche wad without a matching six-digit salary to justify my lifestyle.

Long, whining story short – I feel like a joke. I prioritize contests slightly ahead of my blogging to help build a publication portfolio, but both have somehow fallen back to the bottom of the totem. As always – I’m trying to find the time to put true effort into the work I want to publish on here. I have a “Writing the World” Wednesday entry that I’ve been sitting on for weeks but haven’t been able to structure enough for posting – and a contest entry that received positive feedback but I’ve been wondering if I didn’t want to make it into a series for the blog. I haven’t forgot how to blog and I haven’t forgot the dozens of you that follow me because you like my work. I’m trying.

Forgive me?

Yours,

ab

Missing In Action.

Dear Readers Who Are Still Here:

My unexpected absence from my blog the last two weeks was unintentional. I always feel obligated to provide an explanation. Maybe you don’t care; maybe you care enough to read this post; maybe you’ve been dying for an answer. Really, though, a big part of this post is just to satisfy the fact that I want to note what’s been going on for me that has continually disrupted my ability to remain a regular poster.

Firstly, it is extremely difficult to find time to write in a busy life. Some people are busier and accomplish more, while others are struggling to get anything accomplish with fewer “to dos” than I’ve got. We’re all facing different battles – and all of our activities are warring for the same time slots. I’ve found that my job, while part-time, requires far more of my life than I could have ever anticipated. Some people tell me that this is a good sign. They tell me that it’s because I’m such a great manager that work breaks its way into my life in a dozen different ways. Aside from having a job – I’m a mother shuffling a little boy around from activity to activity almost every single day. I am proud, although exhausted, to see that my son has the same drive to be excellent in everything he does in his life. I know that a brilliant future awaits him – even if my future is filled with very long naps.

Secondly, depression makes life stop. It suffocates you. It blackens your field of vision. It grabs ahold of every bone in your body and squeezes until the fractures become too many and your body crumbles under the weight of permeating sorrow. Depression doesn’t go away because you will it to do as much. Depression doesn’t cease to exist if you’re medicated. It is just an unfortunate presence that not everyone can be free of – and I happen to be one of those people. For a couple of weeks I’ve been feeling lost, hopeless, aimless, and exhausted from all my self-loathing. It’s like being caught in a maze with no exit. How can you write a clear sentence if you can’t even think about something with a clear mind?

Lastly, anxiety. I know that two of these three “bullet point” pertain to mental illness and that probably sounds like a copout to some people. The unfortunate reality is that mental illness is devastatingly good at deterring people from accomplishing simple tasks. As my schedule is determined to make me forget that I have a passion for writing, my depression is in opposition trying to remind me that I once loved to write ahead of vital activities such as eating and sleeping! In those tiniest moments as I am able to pull back and look at these two distinct states of mind (and of life, really) – it stresses me out to see that I’m perpetually setting myself up to fail. I am a control freak and I often have to be able to plan and dictate the outcome of nearly any scenario which involves my future. Scatterbrained scheduling and disruptive depression make it impossible for me to overcome any anxiety I feel by failing to reach personal goals.

Being inside my head is most certainly the equivalent to being inside of a tornado of glass.

Writing the World Wednesday is the only thing I’ve been able to keep up with even close to regularly since starting my blog. After I deleted my Tumblr blogs on accident a month ago, I haven’t really been able to build a following online that supplement that small readership I’ve built here. Spiraling downward from there, I found myself saying I was going to give up on trying to get published. Every day I would find a new way to discourage myself from even trying. If I wasn’t discouraging myself then I was finding yet another thing that would prevent me from being able to meeting my writing goals.

I never know what’s going to happen at work and that sucks. There’s no other way to put it. My personal life is similar to organized chaos. If I want to succeed in these conditions then I have to find a way to break free of this constant self-depravation. To do that I have identify the tools that hinder my growth and make myself the master of those things.

I want to start branching out into an area that I’ve not quite touched base on yet with Writing the World: religion. This requires a level of research and understanding that I’ve not yet acquired. I hope to post this coming Wednesday – and Thursday – and Friday! I need to get back to doing my short fiction pieces for the days I’m off of work. What better way to get back on the horse? Small steps – one at a time.

I have always appreciated your readership, and I will always think fondly of your for your support. What I did to deserve anything so humbling and kind is a mystery to me. Here’s to a brighter future!

Yours,

ab xoxox

Fantastic News.

Dear Readers,

No – it’s not anything major like a publishing deal or anything like that. Although, I am getting a short story published. Read this post for that information. This post is just to let you know what to expect.

Things are finally slowing down at work – which is bittersweet. However, that means I can post more often – although not necessary on a set schedule perfectly being that my schedule is different every single week. Wednesday Posts will not change, of course.

That all being more or less a review of how things currently run – I just wanted to announce that I’ve drafted an opinion article! I know some of you really loved what I’ve done for opinion articles in the past so I want you to get excited.

A teaser for you on the topic: friend.

I have a lot emotion and thought vested in this particular topic. I’ve been sitting on the idea and the outline for several weeks now. I’ll be posting it within the week, though, so I want you to keep an eye out. Once it’s edited I’ll put it up for your viewing pleasure, I promise!

Thanks again to everyone for reading my work. It means more to me than anything. Here’s to a happy year of posting 2016! My best to you, and I’ll see you around.

Yours,

ab