Walk Hard

“The best solution to a public health problem is prevention — and hunger should not be an exception to that rule.” — Ellen Parker, executive director of Project Bread

On Sunday, May 4, I will once again be participating in Project Bread’s 20 mile Walk for Hunger. I know May is a ways away, but it’s never too early to get the word out!

Project Bread, a Massachusetts-based anti-hunger organization, is committed to providing people of all ages, cultures, and walks of life with sustainable, reliable access to nutritious food. Many people are “a paycheck away” from a food crisis, and the problem of hunger touches a wide range of Massachusetts residents. I know that by participating in this year’s Walk for Hunger, I will be bringing hope to our hungry neighbors.

I would like to ask for your help today in sponsoring me for the walk, any donation will be highly appreciated! $25 provides a bowl of hot soup and a sandwich for 50 people at an emergency food program, so even just 5 dollars will help make a difference! To sponsor me for the 2014 Walk for Hunger, please visit my personal Walk Webpage (click here!) to learn more. From there, you can donate or even sign up to walk with me! Please use the link below to visit my personal Walk Webpage and help me reach my goal. Thank you so much for your consideration. Every dollar counts — and remember, no donation is too small!

Together, we can end hunger in Massachusetts, and by supporting The Walk for Hunger, your faith in my effort to eradicate hunger will get us even closer to making this a reality.

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Back On The Horse

I know it’s been radio silent here on my blog lately, but I’m here to say I’ve started writing again! (Woo hoo!)  Okay, okay, hold your applause guys, it’s not that exciting.  And it doesn’t actually mean that my blog will be that much less empty.

Over a year ago I got a novel-writing kit (No Plot? No Problem!) as a gift but I never opened it.  I found it yesterday while reorganizing my bookshelf and cracked it open on a whim.  And so I’ve decided to follow its novel-writing advice and am embarking on a 30 day writing challenge.  Typically, these challenges are a month-long adventure, starting on the first day of the month, and ending when that month comes to a close.  And I wanted to do that, but there was a problem.  February only has 28 days!  How can you do a 30 day challenge in 28 days?!  (Though, I can’t be too mad at February.  It is my birthday month after all.)  I knew that I could always just wait until March and start then, but that option didn’t seem so appealing.  Plus knowing myself as well as I do, I know that I will lose all ambition to try the challenge if I wait.  So I’m being unorthodox and doing my challenge from January 31st through to March 1st.

I’ve completed one day of writing (2,000 words so far out of 50,000!) and I feel pretty accomplished.  I suppose I’ll be documenting my progress, or lack of, here so you can cry, rejoice, and bleed along with me.

Overwhelmed

I’m rewriting my novel.  Well, trying to rewrite my novel.  The truth is, I’m not even sure where to start.  I have at least three different versions of the story, a bunch of notes and a few half-written scenes as well.  Overwhelmed doesn’t even cover it.

When I started this story I was fourteen years old.  That was six, almost seven, years ago!  I don’t even remember where the idea for the story came from or what my end goal was.  Part of me wonders whether I should just junk the whole thing and move on…  But I can’t do that.  So much work went into this story!  Even though it’s not cohesive and all over the place, I just can’t delete it.  Besides, the fourteen year-old me would be very put out.

So slowly, very slowly, I’m reading through all the versions of my novel and am attempting to make an outline.  And do you know what I’ve realized?  My story has no plot!  It’s a novel without a point with a lot of fluff.  Well written fluff, but still.  I guess plot lines weren’t really high on my list six years ago.

How do you rewrite a novel that doesn’t even have plot or a direction?  Because I have no idea.

Help.  This project may or may not be the death of me.

A Love of Autumn

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” ― George Eliot

Who else loves autumn?  Because I do, I really really do.  The days are shorter and the air has that cool crisp smell to it.  And the clothes!  It’s the season of layers.  Boots and scarves and sweaters and sweatshirts with hoods – Fall clothes are the best clothes.

There’s apple picking and pumpkin picking, hay rides and corn mazes.  Hot apple cider and pumpkin pie.  And you can snuggle on the couch with a blanket and a hot cup of tea without cranking up the AC (I will not give up my hot tea for summer even if it kills me!).

How could anyone not love autumn?  It’s the best time of the year.

Book World

Have you ever been so immersed in something you that forget about everything else?  I mean, you still remember to shower and put on deodorant, eat breakfast and go to work, but you forget other things, the little things.  Things like emptying the dishwasher, making your bed, putting gas in your car, plans with friends, hobbies, etc.  They’re suddenly not so important.

That’s me right now, all because I bought two new books from Barnes & Noble (A Dance With Dragons, the 5th books in G.R.R. Martins ASOFAI series, and Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler).

I’ve been so excited that I have two shiny new books to read and sniff (I love the smell of a new book, don’t judge!) that I have completely neglected my writing.  I haven’t written a thing in days.  And my poor car’s gas gauge is on E.  And while I love how I can give myself wholly to a book, I think I need to learn how to better exist in the book world and the real world at the same time.

Does anyone else have this problem?

My Inspiration

Yesterday afternoon I finally got to do something I’ve always dreamed of – I met my favorite author, Sarah Dessen.

Since I was a youngin’ I’ve always been an avid a reader and a collector of the books I loved most.  And Sarah Dessen is a part of that.

The first book I ever read by her was Dreamland, and the rest, as they say, was history.  I picked it up and fell in love.  I was touched, changed by her writing.  Fast forward a good 10 years and now I own every book she has out.

Sarah Dessen didn’t just fan the fire under my love of reading – she also inspired me to become a writer myself.  Since I finished that first book I’ve wanted to write something that touches someone, even just one person, the way her book touched me.

When I found out Sarah was going to be at Eight Cousins Book Store down the Cape for her book tour, I knew I had to be there.  I requested the day off from work, asked a few friends (fellow book lovers) if they wanted to come, and offered to take my 12 (almost 13) year-old cousin, who has just started liking books (yay!), if she wanted to come as well.

So my friend Leane, my cousin Ainslee, and I took a drive out to Falmouth.  The book store was already starting to fill up when we got there, and we joined the eager crowd in the wait for Sarah.  I was so nervous/excited/anxious/happy.

She came in by the front door, as casual as anything.  I remember the girl beside us saying she was surprised to see her already – she thought Sarah would sneak in through the backdoor.

Sarah started the event off with a quick reading from her new book, The Moon and More (can’t wait to dig into it) and then took questions.

Sarah answering questions.

One little girl asked her what her favorite color was (Carolina blue, aka baby blue, if you were wondering).  Dessen also answered questions on her writing process, how she knew she wanted to be a writer, and how she decided what characters from her old books would show up in the new ones.

And then the signing began.

Trying to form an orderly line was probably the toughest part, since Eight Cousins is a pretty small (but cute) venue.  But everyone was friendly and on their best behavior and soon the line was formed and moving along inch by inch.

My cousin Ainslee went before us (I was mature and didn’t trample her down to get to my books signed first).  Sarah told her that her name was pretty and very southern.

Ainslee and Sarah!

And then it was my turn.  I had bought a copy of The Moon and More earlier and also brought my well-read, worn copy of my favorite book, This Lullaby, for her to sign.

For days and for the entire drive to the Cape I had been thinking about what I wanted to say when it was my turn to meet Sarah.  I had it all planned out.  And when I got to sit down next to Sarah as she signed my book, it all flew out of my head.  I had no idea what to say or what to do with myself.  I was so nervous!  I thought I was going to explode and fan-girl all over her.  Though I did manage to get out a sentence about how long I’ve been reading her books, and that she’s the reason I ever thought about becoming a writer (which she told me is the best compliment I could give her).

Me and Sarah!

Leane went next and I snapped a picture of her and Sarah before we all headed outside to the back of the store to sign t-shirts for Sarah and her daughter (yay, arts and crafts! Sort of).

Leane and Sarah!

Shirt table and the very nice girl who manned it.

It was a great day and I cannot be happier that I got to meet my inspiration, Sarah Dessen.

Library | Daily Prompt: Dream Home

My dream house.  There’s something I’ve thought about constantly, but only in regards to one thing: my library.  I’ve always said that when I have my own home I will have a library.  Preferably one with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, a fireplace, and stairs to a second floor. Oh, and a very comfy chair by the window (or a window seat, either will work). That’s not asking a lot right?

Anyone who’s a major bibliophile gets it.  A home library is a must.  We need a place to store our babies!

If I read I good book I hold on to it, or buy it if it was a read someone lent me, or property of my local library.  I’ve been reading for years and these books are adding up!  Then there are the books I’m buying to add to my Tolkien collection (I’m a Tolkienite, you caught me!)

Currently, half (or maybe a third) of my books are on my well used, sagging bookshelf, and the books that my shelf doesn’t have space for? – they’re all piled neatly in an old laundry basket.  That library is looking pretty good right now!

Realistically my library, if I ever get one, won’t be two floors, or have a fancy fireplace (I’m not letting go of the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves or the comfy seat by the window though), but it’s fun to dream!

Daily Prompt: Dream Home

On My Own | Daily Prompt: Far from Home

Tell us about the farthest you’ve ever traveled from home.

I’ve traveled a lot in my 20 short years.  Family road trips to Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington DC.  I went to Disney (twice) and when I was very young we visited family in Washington State.  I’ve even been to places outside the United States.  There was a family trip to Dominica, small nature island in the West Indies, and we spent some time in Puerto Rico on our journey there and on our way back home.  When I was 16, my mother, my aunt and I went to Italy for a week on an EF Tours trip.

The trip that took me the farthest from home though, was my trip to Greece (also with EF Tours).  It was the first (and only) major trip I had ever taken without my family.

I was convinced something would go wrong.  What if I forgot something, or if I got sick?  What if I couldn’t use the calling cards to call home, or if I had the wrong power converter for my rechargeable items.  Everything worked out fine, of course, but it was a scary experience.

My trip to Greece was an amazing opportunity for my friends and I, and I would love to be able to go back someday.

Greek flag.

 

Group shot!

 

Cape Sounion, site of the Greek temple of Poseidon.

 

Cape Sounion, site of the Greek temple of Poseidon.

 

 Daily Prompt: Far from Home

With Open Arms or Skepticism

In life, people come and go.  Some last forever and some only for a little while.  It’s strange, who ends up staying and who goes.  The people you expect to leave turn out to be the ones who stay, and the ones you think will never leave your side eventually desert you.

What do you do when someone who left your life wants to come back?  Do you welcome them with open arms, or greet them with skepticism?