Will Not Apologize for My Country Even if I Don’t Agree

Well, unless you’ve been living under a rock or in a coma for the last 13 hours you know Donald Trump will be America’s next president.

I tend not to share my political beliefs (I mean, most people can guess) but I don’t like to straight-up say who I voted for or what party I’m more inclined to learn toward. It’s like, you say you’re a Democrat and suddenly people think you’re okay with late term abortions or want to take all the guns. Or if you say you’re a Republican people assume you and are totally homophobic and racist. I know plenty of Democrats who are against abortions and own guns. On the flip side, I know Republicans who are gay. It’s not fair to make those snap judgments about people based on their party.

I am an American. I am proud to be an American. Maybe more today than yesterday.

Our system gave us two candidates where (I believe) a majority of people felt that they had to pick between the lesser of two evils. I would argue that they are BOTH criminals. I wasn’t really proud to get behind ANYONE in this election. All the candidates (I believe) had major character flaws, but they were what we were given. We were given lemons and damn it, we’re going to have to make lemonade.

So – how can I be proud to be an American?

Because I live in a country where I can vote. Period. Right? Or – even – I live in a country where I have a real choice in my vote. I am a woman and can vote. Women haven’t even had to right to vote for 100 years yet, but I can. So – yay. But, I can also choose NOT to vote. That’s my right too.

Also, I can say whatever the hell I want to about our current and/or future president.

Am I thrilled with how the election ended? No. If it had gone the other way would I have been happier? Not really.

But I am happy that I am American. I’m happy that when I was at the poll yesterday the line extended out and around the building. I mean, did everyone who voted make an educated decision? Probably not. Did I? I hope so.

I don’t know if I can really express it well. Some people think this election tore our country apart and that Trump’s win will do the same. But maybe – maybe it will make us unified again. Like I said, we were given two choices that a majority of people didn’t really like. So – maybe there will be more people who will be there to challenge Trump when he’s on the cusp of making a mistake. Maybe there won’t be this blame that we put on one another during his presidency. I know that somehow, every mistake that Obama made I got blamed for because I voted for him. Um – no? Not my fault. And I don’t care if you’re kidding, I heard it enough from enough people that it wasn’t ever funny. Personally, when people did that I felt attacked. Maybe that’s because political leanings are so tied into our morals and the way we think that when we get blamed or pigeon-holed into something we aren’t we feel like others think less of us. So – maybe if we know that people want to make the best of what we have, there will be less of that.

All I know is that Trump is the antithesis to what our system is right now. And Hillary was the embodiment of it. I think people are tired of crooked politicians. Tried of career politicians who know how to play the game. People are tired of the Democrat agenda (or tired of the way it is being enacted/ pursued). Do people really think Trump – himself – will make America great again? Or do they think a change in the system will?

I believe that this election will be the beginning of change within in political area as we, and our parents, and grandparents know it. I believe that there will be some growing pains, but I believe that America will survive. And if we can’t tolerate Trump – we vote him out in 4 years. If he MASSIVELY messes up – we can impeach him.  Or not. Maybe I’m still too naive.

As far as having a business man run the country – I think we could’ve picked someone better.

As far as having the first female president – I think we could’ve picked someone better.

I will make lemonade. I will not apologize for my country (well, not on this point). I am an American and I am proud.

This is Where You Find Me

You find me a wife. You find me a coworker. You find me a friend. You find me a daughter.
But, you might not find me a writer anymore.

It’s just hard now. It used to be that ideas and words just overflowed out of my brain. You’d find all kinds of pieces of paper in my wake covered in snippets of stories. 

Now though… Now it’s hard. I go back and re-read things I wrote just a few years ago and wonder how I can tap back into that again. How do I get my brain back into a creative place? The writing prompts I find online just don’t seem to spark anything. I try and remember old assignments from my writing classes and I just come up short. 

I used to define myself by my passion and my drive for writing, but now that that’s faded – who am I? There are all these labels and roles I fill, but… Can’t I be all those things and a writer too? I know I can, but how do I find that spark again? 

I think I’m making steps. I have my book club. I’m blogging again. I’m trying to breathe more life into my thesis. But I want new ideas. New stories. 

Any suggestions are welcome. I’ll keep trying and keep looking. I think this struggle is part of every writer’s journey. I’m glad to see what kind of writer I’ll be on the other side of this.

After all, like Dory says, “Just keep swimming!”

Breaking the Silence

I can’t believe it’s been OVER A YEAR AND A HALF since I’ve posted anything. I mean, I knew it’d been a while, but….

Life tends to get in the way, doesn’t it?

I’ve had a lot going on personally, but things have settled down now. Husband’s lovely sister had a baby boy a few months ago, so I’m an Aunt! I’m an only child so little Nephew Nugget is so awesome to me on so many levels.

Work has been work. I stare at a computer monitor all day, so the LAST thing I want to do in my free time is blog. I think that much time staring at the computer might burn my retinas – or possibly cause them to mutate into the next stage of eye evolution.

The biggest thing going on in my life, is that I’m finally NOT burnt out on writing. I want to work on my novel/thesis more. I actually have plans for the follow-up books! But – I really want to revamp the thesis and start getting that out to agents.

I’m reading again too. It’s been amazing. I’m even in a book club. Look at me, getting social and everything.

But – I do need to have more creativity in my life. Hence the return to the blog.

I’m working on a non-fiction piece I want to post here, so be on the look out in the next few days or more.

Stay tuned – I promise, I’ll be back.

Second Thoughts on the New Year

Since my last post, I’ve been thinking about New Year’s resolutions.

I think I was a bit negative about the whole thing. I suppose at the end of the New Year, it’s easier to get distracted by all you haven’t done and not all that you have done.

I did have some pretty awesome moments in 2014.

I had a short story published (with other stories by fellow and former students from my grad school) by the Peace Corp in Ethiopia. Schools all over the country will now have the books with our stories, my story, in them to help the students learn to read English.

I got promoted at work and now have a Big Girl Job.

Husband and I have never been stronger and never been better.

And plenty of other small victories.

I don’t need to focus on that fact that I didn’t write as much as I wanted, or that I didn’t submit to as many agents as I should have, or that I didn’t read as many books as I had wanted to.

Goals are important. I can’t believe that I forgot that lesson from one of my classes at school. We made a goal board that was a visual representation of our goals for the year. Then, I posted a list of all my goals all over my house in places that I would see every day. And, it seemed without even trying, I completed most of those goals.

So this year I vow to…

  • Write more
  • Read more
  • Loose some weight (yep… I’m at that lovely stage of life now. I even joined WeightWatcher this weekend. Exercise just wasn’t doing enough)
  • Be better about staying on top of the laundry
  • Submit to at least TWO agents (Setting the bar kinda low, but with the rate I’ve been going it’s better than two in a year and a half)
  • Submit at least one story to a contest

Right. I think that’s a good start. This blog post is probably the one that best reflects the “life and times of a former English grad student trying to make her way in the world.”

Well, the holidays are over and “real life” starts back bright and early in the morning. Here’s to making these resolutions stick.

That Time of the Year

Well, it’s that time of the year again.

The time where work is slow and I have a chance to catch up on reading and writing.

The time where I (and millions of other people) make promises to themselves that they probably won’t keep.

The time for New Year’s Resolutions.

I do/say this every year. I’m going to write more. I’m going to submit to agents this year. I’m going to read 50 books…well, maybe more like 25 (which I never even get close to) this year. This year I’m going to be better.

And, like most people, I am. For a little while. But not long enough. Not long enough to be really productive anyway.

*sigh*

So, what am I going to do differently this year? What revelation have I had that’s prompted me to write this post?

…. The answers are 1) I don’t know and 2) nothing.

In a lot of ways, I think my thesis burnt me out way more than I realized. For over a year the thought of writing something new,o f opening up a blank word document and just letting the words flow, was just exhausting. It took me about 5 years to write my thesis from scratch and work through countless drafts and revisions. 5 YEARS! I know that writing the second book will be different than the first, but its hard to get excited when I know how much “suffering” there is ahead of me.

Maybe you’re thinking at this point, “Why are you even worried about writing a second book when the first one isn’t even published?”

Because the story isn’t over. It’s not all about publishing and agents and that nonsense. Writing for me has always been a passion. A discovery of people and places and things. I had to learn a lot about fencing my thesis. And fairy tales and folklore. I also learned a lot about myself.

I will write the second book because it deserves to be written, even if I’m the only one who ever reads it.

While writing this post, I found a quote from Neil Gaiman that I think encompasses my goals for this year:

gaiman

So – here’s to surprising myself next year, and I hope the same to you.

The Adventure Begins

Well, I did it.

Earlier this week, I submitted a query letter to an agent. This was the first real agent that I felt like I had a good chance with.

I’ve submitted one letter before. And that was a year or more ago.

That first agent was my “reach agent.” Back in high school, when I was applying to colleges, the guidance councilors would advise us to have a “safety school,” a “reach school,” and a few that fell somewhere in-between. One school you knew you could get into and a school that was your dream school but you knew you probably wouldn’t get in. But, you never know if you don’t try.

So last year, I tried, and nothing happened. Not even a rejection letter.

Fast forward to today.

This agent wasn’t a safety agent, but someone that I thought I had a really good chance with. She listed on her web page that she was looking for YA, New Adult, and contemporary fantasy. All things that my book is. I had real hope with this one. I mean, all I had to do was submit a one page query letter and within a week or so they’d either ask for a 30 page writing sample, or not.

And… three days letter I got my rejection letter.

In that moment, I was heartbroken. They didn’t even give me a chance to show them my work. I mean, what was wrong with my letter? Had I left something important out? Was I not unique enough? What did I do wrong?

And then I stopped myself. No It wasn’t anything I did wrong. There’s a good chance that they already have someone who has written something similar enough to mine that they couldn’t represent me. Or – I don’t know – other reasons that don’t have anything to do with me.

However, I’m going to take a page from Stephen King’s On Writing. When he first started sending things out, he stuck a nail in the wall and would hang each rejection letter over his desk. He let the rejection fuel him and not beat him.

Finding an agent is a lot like dating, I just have to find the right fit. So, I’m not going to get back out in that “dating” pool and keep trying to find that person who is the right person for me and I’m the right person for them.

Let the adventure continue.