Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sometimes What You're Not Supposed to Do Teaches You the Most

It's well known that I despise narratives that contend that there are positive things that can be learned from the "school of pain." Stories that contend that pain is some kind of device meant to teach patience and grace, to be overcome in favor of goodness, sacrifice, and martyrdom. I can't say that this isn't the case for anyone, but I can say what pain has taught me over the past year. It has taught me fear.

Today, I was lucky enough to have lunch at Café Pamplona with a certain author who sometimes plays tamborine for his wife, who is a rockstar. As I waited for him, I remembered the last time I'd been to that particular coffee shop. It was on an OkCupid date with a guy whose profile mentioned that he was writing a play about being a person with a disability. This intrigued me, so I asked him about it early on in the conversation.

"Oh, that," he said. "Yeah, I want to get back to that. I just haven't had the inspiration since I left college, you know? I just haven't had the muse hit me."

"Mmm," I replied. The converation continued in this vein--I'd mention one of his supposed interests, and he'd say yeah, he kept meaning to get back into that. Theatre, reading, music. As far as I could gather, all he did was hang out in is apartment with his cat. And he had been a theatre major. I'd never met more a dispassionate theatre person, and when he told me he'd started the last Harry Potter book but never finished it, I realized I'd never met a less passionate person.

I am passionate about writing. The kind of passionate that means I think about it constantly, almost always have queries out, and want it to be my future. But my modified Nanowrimo plan to spend an hour a day on something new hasn't panned out well. It's easy to blame this on my back. I am, after all, essentially on house arrest until December.

"Does writing hurt?" my lunch companion today asked, with a sympathetic wince.

I quickly agreed that it does, and it's true. Every time I think I've positioned my myriad cushions in a way that keeps the pain away for an hour and is condusive to using my laptop, a different pain crops up to hinder this. But then, there I was sitting up painlessly at the coffee shop table for an hour and a half. I'm not meant to sit up much, but with my brace on I can for an hour or so a day. For meals and such. But I haven't been. I've eaten on the couch, or in my room. Surely I should have been using that hour, then, to sit at my desk and pound out an hours' worth of words.

My head floods with excuses at this thought. My desk covered in pajamas, because I can't bend over to reach the pajama drawer. The weird PT said I shouldn't sit in rolly chairs. I don't write at my desk when I'm well--why start now?

But the truth under all of these questions is that I'm afraid. Afraid that it will hurt? Yes, a bit. But I'm not stupid. If it starts to hurt my back, I'll give it up. I want to heal. But I think the true fear comes from the fact that I haven't written anything truly new in a year and a half. That I still don't have an agent. That I'm never going to make it. The kinds of fears I never used to listen to, because I knew they'd turn me into the kind of dispassionate person who gives up before they even begin.

I know what it is to give into fear. The fear of pain kept me holed up in my apartment for the majority of this year. It cost me opportunities, self-esteem, and probably a lot of other things I won't even realize I lost for a while.

I walked home from the cafe. I'm not meant to walk farther than the distance from my bedroom to the couch, but it was a gorgeous fall day, my favorite kind of day, and by the time I'm off house arrest, those will be lost to the snow, of which I have proper reason to be afraid. The walk isn't far, but before the surgery, my lower back would have been hurting by the time I got halfway home. This time it didn't. To me, that's a sign that all this is going to be worth it. That I can make it through this period of house arrest, because on the otherside there will be a life where fear of pain won't dictate my every decision.

In the meantime, I'm not going to let another type of fear take away my passion.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

In the Magical World

Due to the nature of my back pain, and the nerves involved in it, lying prone is generally the msot comfortable position. This isn't very comofortable for writing, but it works for reading. Moreso on my iPad than holding a book up, which may be the root cause for the phenomenon I'm about to discuss, but I don't think it is.

See, I've definitely been reading books--new ones, and old ones, letting myself reread for the first time in years--but I've also spent a lot of time reading fanfiction. Harry Potter fanfiction, specifically. Now, this isn't a new thing for me, I spent the better part of my teen years active on, both writing fanfic and reading it. By the start of college, I'd become fairly well-known in the Grey's Anatomy fan world, enough that I skipped orientation events to write fic. Rainbow Rowell's latest book Fangirl resonated with me, deeply. 

But it'd been a while since I'd really delved into Harry Potter fandom. I reread the books before coming to Boston in 2010, but they'd sort of become a part of my past. My room still has Potter figurines, and posters, but when asked to list my favorite things, it didn't always come first. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I reread Sam Starbuck's story Stealing Harry on a whim. It's an alternate universe (AU) story about Sirius Black and Remus Lupin taking Harry away from the Dursleys, and it's wonderful. It was written before the series finished, and I read it in high school so I didn't fully appreciate the nuances. And that's the thing, I think, that sparked my subsequent dive into Sam's entire backlog, as well as Fernwithy's Remus/Tonks story Shifts, which I also read when it came out.

See, the majority of Sam and Fern's stories are set during and after Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. They feature different versions of Remus Lupin, the lost, itnerate, rejected man who is beholden to the whims of a body that attacks without his consent, and Sirius Black, a man condeemed to spend every day ttrapped in one house, able to socialize only on other people's terms.

I find, suddenly, that I idenitfy with both men more than I ever imagined possible. 

I never used to like Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I didn't understand Sirius's bitterness, or the way he clung to the past. When Remus attempted to reject Nymphadora Tonks in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I wanted to join Tonks in shouting at him to get a clue--his disease didn't define him. 

Now, tied as I am to the whims of my own, painful, medical conditions, and other people's decisions that have landed me on a couch in my apartment basically 24/7, my sympathy for both men has increased grately. As a child and a teenager my Harry Potter sympathies lay mostly with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. I wanted to have their adventures. To be swept away into a world where the magic made up for the challenges. I liked Remus and wrote about him a fair bit, but always to do with romance and usually as a teenager (I met my best fandom-friend through shipping Remus/Lily). I never thought much about the other side of his life, probably because I saw how it reflected my own condition, and I didn't want to admit the truths of what could be. I'm also no longer annoyed with Sirius. I finally understand why so many mourned his death, and I resent instead those who did not see how depressed his entrapment must have made him. Those who could do something about it, which his fifteen-year-old godson could not.

And maybe that's why I'm immersing myself in fanfic. because fanfic authors see the trials of both men. They explore Remus's pain, his loss, and his attempts to keep Sirius sane in spite of everything. They examine the tedium of Sirius's confinement, the mistakes he made, and the mistakes others made. They admit that even in the magical world adulthood is not easy, or perfect, or even desired, but it can be okay. And, of course, all of these elements are also part of the Potter books, which I plan to reread during my recovery. There are many types of lives within those pages, and an invalid twenty-four-year-old can find herself in them the same way an awed nine-year-old could.

Going back to the world of Harry Potter is like coming home, in a way, but it's also like seeing a friend again after so many years and discovering that they've changed, and yet you still have more in common than you ever thought possible. And, in a way, that friend is there to remind you that, in spite of everything, hope is possible and magic, of a sort, is real after all.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


The other day, my mom mentioned that I hadn't updated my blog in a while and suggested that I do so. I think she did it to try to give me additional ideas for occupation--I need them these days--but, really, attempting to write here more frequently will hopefully solve several of my current problems.

But why should I, a newly-employed young professional, need a list of ways to spend her time? Simple. I'm no longer employed.

A sudden development, I know, when you consider that I'd only gotten the job three months ago, but it has a fairly understandable explanation. My spinal surgery was supposed to take place on August 26th, but it got postponed because of issues related to my July hospitalization. It's now scheduled for October 1st. I couldn't work through the interim, partially because I'd be in pain, and partially because I have to avoid getting another sore that could lead to infection. Unfortunately, I hadn't finished my ninety day probationary period, and so there was no way for them to give me the extended leave I'd need to cover the additional four weeks of waiting plus the (at least) six weeks of my recovery. So, the best option was for me to exit gracefully. I might be able to be rehired once I'm well. We'll see.

Either way, I'm unemployed. And although having the next four weeks free would seem to be a great opportunity for a writer, the pain makes it difficult to find a good position for writing or revising. I'm querying, but other than that I've spent a lot of time lately staring listlessly at a Scrivner file and not working on it. My plan is to start something new as soon as I can post-surgery. Still, the guilt lingers. I'm a writer. I should be writing.

And that's what I'm doing here. Writing about the things I've avoided talking about, and hoping it's enough to convince myself that I'm still a writer.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

step the next

I know I've been awful about posting here this year. I have several drafts saved with subjects I want to blog about, but I honestly haven't had the motivation because I've had so much going on. I jsut wanted to let you guys know, though, that I'm having surgery to correct the scoliosis curve in my back on the 26th. Hopefully after I recover from that I'll have more energy to add blogging into my schedule of work--write--sleep--work, but it may be a while. I jsut want what followers I have to know that I don't plan on abandoning this blog. I just haven't had a very interesting life lately.

Monday, July 1, 2013


LeakyCon. Until a few days ago that term was abstract to me. I spent most of my teenhood immersed in the Harry Potter fandom, but had moved to the periphery by the time the cons started emerging. College took over my time and, I admit it, television shows took over my fangirling. It wasn’t until I became a nerdfighter and a Maureen Johnson fan that I began to hear about LeakyCon, with its multifandom appeal and literary focus. Last summer, a ton of my favorite authors, bloggers, and webvideo creators attended. Meanwhile, I moved in with a fellow HP fangirl, and she took me to my first wizard rock concert.

“You know,” I said one day, when tweets from Chicago were flooding my timeline, “We should go to LeakyCon next year.”

Reader, we went.

It still surprised me that we followed through on an idea hatched before we found out the con would be happening across the country. I’ve made plenty of plans to travel with friends that haven’t panned out. This one did. In spite of inconvenient summer class scheduling, new jobs, and my ever-evolving physical challenges, we made it to Portland. And it was incredible.

I’m not sure I’m by nature a con person. I’m not fabulous at making fast-friends with groups of strangers, and because my mom ran most of the conferences I went to as a child, I always want to be involved behind the scenes. Sitting in convention center chairs as a participant is strange to me. It feels strangely passive. It lacks intimacy. Luckily, LeakyCon is about much more than the panels. It is about more than the Quidditch matches, or the author signings, or the exhibit hall. It’s about more than Buffy, Doctor Who, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and even Harry Potter. It’s about more, because that’s the point. It is more, just like every fan is more than her house, his age, their ship.

My roommate is not a nerdfighter (yet). I’m not hugely into wrock. Neither of us are massive StarKid fans. And we both had an incredible weekend. I got to thank people whose creative work has gotten me through this year, which has—for many reasons—been one of my more difficult ones. For some of that time, there were days when all I could bring myself to do was watch The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and Saturday night I got to speak to the cast and hug two of the women who made me laugh and cry when nothing else did. I danced with the show’s executive producer, took a picture with Hank Green, and danced to “Party in the U.S.A.” for the first time since I graduated college.

There are a lot of amazing things about this. There is the fact that nothing hurt when I jumped around the dance floor. That I got to speak to people who have inspired me creatively and emotionally. To people whose face I see on my computer screen every night, but who had never seen me. That my roommate and I got to have fun together indulging our fannishness with abandon. But what was most amazing to me was seeing the other people on the dance floor last night. The Esther Earl Charity Ball is the prom of LeakyCon, except far better than the prom most of the attendees probably had. Amongst the crowd there were moms with their ten-year-old boys. Girls dressed like witches. Guys cosplaying The Doctor. Teenagers who had probably never heard a Katy Perry song. They were all on the dance floor having fun, in their way. And that’s what LeakyCon is about: having fun, in your way. Whatever that way is, as long as it’s awesome.

Tonight, I am back in Boston, unpacked. The pain has shown itself. I have a fever. I definitely shouldn’t have gone into work this morning an hour after landing, but I regret none of it, because my weekend was more than amazing. It was magical.

Monday, June 24, 2013


When I started regularly posting on this blog, I was a first-year grad student hoping to connect with the publishing world. After tomorrow, I will no longer be a grad student.

This has been a rough semester/year. I've been dealing with some mental health issues--specifically depression--physical health issues, and finishing grad school. On top of that, I've been trying to figure out my future, which has been morphing before my eyes over the past few months. Today, though, the day before my final class at Simmons, I have a fairly good idea of what the next year will look like, and I want to share it with all of you.

First of all, I will be staying in Boston in my fabulous apartment, with my great roommate. I can do this because I HAVE A JOB. A real one. A grown-up one. It's not being a full-time author, not yet, but I've promised myself that I will not let working 9-5 affect my goals or my priorities. I will use it to pay the bills while I work my way down the publication path.

My job is at the Boston Center for Independent Living as a Youth Transition Advocate, working specifically with youth between the ages of twelve and twenty-two (writing research!) I'm excited and terrified, slanting somewhat toward terrified. I've technically started trainers, but am not working with consumers, yet.

That's mostly because of my physical health issues. I've had increasing back pain for the past year or more, and they've finally diagnosted it as a severe scoliosis curve. In May, this caused a pinched nerve in my back that laid me up for most of May--I read/watched ALL of Game of Thrones/The Song of Ice and Fire--and I'm having surgery to straighten the curve on August 26th. The worst part of all of it has been that it makes sitting up (and thus writing) painful, and I use most of my sitting time for work/class. It's super-frustrating, but I'm still working on revising some things. Of course, my brain, knowing that I have no time to write new things, is giving me all kinds of ideas. *sigh*. Definitely will be doing NaNoWriMo, if not something while I recover from my surgery.

I will be going to LeakyCon this week. I'm worried about pain/stamina, but I'm determined to have a blast and stalk meet Maureen Johnson for all I'm worth!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Free-Time Shaming

"Oh my God, i can't remember the last time I read for fun!"

"Wow, you're going to another concert? I wish I had that kind of time!"

"How do you write on top of all of this?"

"One day, you won't have time for pleasure reading."

These are things I hear all the time. All day, everyday, from everyone. People in my program, people online. Everyone who hears I'm doing something widely considered to be "leisure activity" has to counter with an explanation of how busy they are. These statements, while often genuine, are also thinly-veiled expressions of envy that are meant to shame the subject--re: me--into feeling bad for not having as many commitments. And I do feel bad.

Or I did.

Not anymore. Now I'm calling bullshit. Because, here's the thing, I have commitments. I'm finishing my final semester of grad school. I have a job. I have medical issues that, frankly, take up a lot of my time. But I also read, and write, and go to concerts. I go out for drinks with my friends and coffee with my coworkers. And when these things slide--until yesterday, I hadn't read a not-for-school book in a week--I don't shame the people whose lives haven't offered them that opportunity. Because I understand that we choose the way we spend our time. It's not shameful that when I manage my time, I factor in at least an hour every day to wrie, or revise, instead of watching reality TV. It's not shameful if you marathon Top Model every weekend.

It's a choice, and it's a choice I make with sanity in mind. I'm a much happier person when I'm regularly seeing live music and if I'm writing. And I arrange my schedule around it. I write papers late at night, I do my reading for class in the doctor's waiting room. Whatever it takes. And if I complain about being busy, it's not okay to counter that with a "But, wait, didn't you go to three concerts this week?" because, yes, I did. I made that choice. It doesn't mean that I'm not still swamped, or that I choose to be swamped, because my choice to go to the concert is, to me, just as valid as my choice to go to grad school, and people complain about that constantly. Don't say I wouldn't feel so overwhelmed if I didn't constantly sleep past ten, because not only am I up past two most nights writing--which is a huge part of my life--it has to do with my medical issues, and I compensate. My time is differently-shaped, and my use of it is my business.

I'm not saying you shouldn't complain about being busy. I'm saying stop shaming other people because their "busy" doesn't look like yours.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Identity Shift

There's a haunting picture that came out of the bombings. If you've seen it, you know it. If you haven't, I don't recommend clicking. It shows a man who was severely injured in the bombing, and it makes me realize that a fairly significant amount of people who joined the ranks of the disabeld on Monday. I'm hoping that they get the services they need. The media will turn away from this. It will be gradual, it will get mentioned, but in the scheme of things, it will happen. In the meantime, many people, some of whom are runners, will have their lives changed fundamentally.

I am proud of being disabiled. Acquring a disabilty is the horrible thing that both media and literature points it out to be, but it is a different lifestyle. I presents challenges that many able-bodied people do not think about, and that can be circumnavigated, but that often the majority do not know about. I hope that there is outreach happening to the people who were injuried on Monday. I'm sure they are being approached as victims of tragedy, but I also hope they are being approached as people with disability, because those are two different, disparate things.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Theory of Moral Sentiments

I went to a pretentious liberal arts college. The kind that claims to be teaching you how to be a human being, instead of how to recite facts. I was/am a die-hard believer in the company line, but I never got it. I never knew how much I applied the intellectual BS I learned, until today.

In his Theory of Moral Sentiments, Adam Smith says "Let us suppose that the great empire of China, with all its myriads of inhabitants, was suddenly swallowed up by an earthquake, and let us consider how a man of humanity in Europe, who had no sort of connexion with that part of the world, would be affected upon receiving intelligence of this dreadful calamity. He would, I imagine, first of all, express very strongly his sorrow for the misfortune of that unhappy people... If he was to lose his little finger to-morrow, he would not sleep to-night; but, provided he never saw them, he will snore with the most profound security over the ruin of a hundred millions of his brethren, and the destruction of that immense multitude seems plainly an object less interesting to him, than this paltry misfortune of his own." To paraphrase: You are always going to be more affected by your own pain.

I've always quoted it whenever people complain about how we give more attention to events in our country than to loss of life abroad, but that's not the point of my education. The point is to understand the philosophies, but also to apply and challenge them.

Today, I'm thinking about what Smith left out. What if the tragedy happened near you, within miles of your apartment, but not to you? What if you do have "connexions" in "China"? What if your friends have complex relationships with the event that happened, but your own understanding is empathetic, yet superficial? How does your pain rate?

I believe in not comparing tragedies. I believe that the relativity of pain is how we stop ourselves from being overwhelmed by our own narcissism. It's a direct result of an ability humans lack--the ability to experience someone else's consciousness.

And yet, when I consider my own fear of getting stranded in Dedham yesterday--I didn't--or get upst about our troubles finding a roommate for next year, I feel wrong. I feel like I'm a callous European conceptualized by a dead white man. I don't want to be. There's an in-between that Smith doesn't consider, and I think in coming to grips with that, I am actually utilizing my education.

For an account by someone who is from here, rather than lives here, see Amanda Palmer's post.


This should be a post about the Taylor Swift concert I went to this weekend, or taking the train from Boston to Orlando. It's not. Those posts will come. Later.

Right now, all I can think of is Boston. It's the city where I am living, but in the past twenty-four hours, it has become the city "where I live." It's so easy to abstract occurances like this. I wasn't at the marathon. I was on a train coming in from Penn Station, and my biggest worry was how I'd get home if they didn't take us all the way into the city. But these bombings happened in a place I go all the time. A place that I love. A place that will never be the same. So, today, that's where my thoughts are.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hammers and Strings

Last night, I was back at the Paradise Rock Club, seeing Andrew McMahon in concert. Andrew was once the frontman for Something Corperate, followed that up with his own proejct--Jack's Mannequin--and is now touring under his own name. He's an incredibly lyricist who can bang magic out of a piano. His ability to mix rocking pop songs with heartfelt rick ballads is incredible, makiing his music my go-to in good times and in bad.

My roommate was supposed to go with me, but there was a mix-up, and I ended up bringing my friedn Andy, who is not usually a rock show person. We snarked the openers, and had a lot of fun there, but once Andrew came on stage, Andy got to deal with my unironic, seventeen-year-old girl-style enthusiastic. I'm a fan of a lot of things, but I am not your classic fangirl about many of them. Andrew's music and his story--he had leukemia at twenty-two--mean so much to me. I hate the word "inspiring," but his ability to fight sickness and pain to come out at the end still passionate about making art helps me feel less hopeful and less alone.

I had that weird disconnect at the show where you realize that all these people love the music you love, and they all have their personal reasons, and sometimes their love is bigger than yours. And yet, you're all drawn there by the same thing, affected by the same thing. It's a magical, almost religious experience.

I wrote him a letter and waited outside inspite of my leg doing its pain spazzing thing. He tucked it into his back pocket, hugged me, and we took a picture. He may not remember me, but he will have my words. And that's enough. I believe in telling peole when their art has affected me. One day, I hope to affect other people with my art. Actually, I think that's basically my thesis statement, replacing the one I came up with at the Amanda Palmer show on Friday night, which was "I want to meet Amanda. I do not want to get trampled." Last night I got to meet Andrew, and I was not trampled. I was lifted up. I know that sounds chiche and ridiculous, but music does that to me.

This is my favorite Andrew song, from the second Jack's Mannequin album. I listen to it all the time. I'm sure I'll wear it out one day, but that is not today.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

To The Woman Who Thought She Owned the ADA Section

Last night I went to see George Watsky perform at the Paradise Rock Club. I'm a new Watsky fan. He played The Middle East this summer, and I didn't make it out, but his new album made me want to see him live. Having been to The Paradise several times--all for Amanda Palmer--I knew that they had an ADA section for every show, and I didn't bother calling ahead. Lesson learned.

They'd put the ADA secton stage right, behind the soundboard. It's not the best view in the world, but if you're in the front of it, it's not horrible. Unfortunately, the section it was only two people wide and a girl who used a wheelchair plus her boyfriend were already up front. I sat behind them, next to the boy's mom.

Let me tell you how ADA sections usually work: You get one seat plus one for your "companion." From something this woman said--when she rudely asked me about my pills, which were antibiotics--she had recently had surgery and would have needed to sit. Fine. You get to sit here.

You DO NOT get to bring four other people into the section. You do not get to move my chair because I have decided to stand for a few songs, because there is a reason I need that chair, and when I need it, I need it RIGHT NOW. And your son does not get to try to climb on stage whenever Watsky's letting people on, because he's right in front of a speaker. (A bouncer grabbed him, and he practically fell on his girlfriend. So much stupid.)

At one point there were probably eight people crammed into a space meant for eight. For someone with a decent amount of crowd anxiety--particularly concert crowd because I fear getting whacked in the head--this was NOT okay. Luckily, said bouncer cleared it out, but it made the last few songs not very fun for me.

I'm going back to The Paradise to see Andrew McMahon next week, but I'm calling ahead. That crowd, though, will probably be less rambunctious. And hopefully that lady stays far, far away.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Perks of Being a Wallflower Reread

I reread The Perks of Being a Wallflower a few weeks ago, along with watching the film, and the commentary, and the deleted scenes.... You get the picture. Anyway, I love the book and identify with many of the ideas in it so much. I love much of what Chbosky says about how he wrote it and made the movie to make sure people know they're not alone, and to show how much teens and young people are carrying around. I agree with it, and it's pretty much the foundation underneath my love of YA.

 So much of what Charlie goes through and feels are things that everyone goes through and feels. But here's the thing: the big reveal in the book bothers me. To me, it alienates those of us who don't have big baggage that could "explain" what we go through mentally. We just do. Sometimes people get depressed. It doesn't mean they have repressed childhood trauma. It's mean they don't. I'm not arguing that what happened to Charlie doesn't fit into the story--it does. I'm not saying the book or film holds this up is the only reason Charlie feels he does. But it does imply that this is the underlying reason for his problems, and that irritates me.

I do love the line in the book--I think it's in the deleted scenes from the film--where Charlie says I do love the line in the book--I think it's in the deleted scenes from the film--where Charlie says "[my sister was] worried about going to college, and considering what I was going through, she felt really dumb about it. But I don’t know why she would feel dumb. I’d be worried, too. And really, I don’t think I have it any better or worse than she does. I don’t know. It’s just different. Maybe it’s good to put things in perspective, but sometimes, I think that the only perspective is to really be there." I think this quote helps illuminate the fact that pain, worry, fear, and trauma are relative, and I know a story has to have drama to be a story, but there are times when I think novels might be better without the shock factor moment. Perks is generally so quiet and real--not that what happens isn't real--that I think it would stand up without it.

Then again, I am seeing this through the eyes of someone who has never been through anything close to what Charlie goes through, but who has experienced many of his other feelings. It may seem completely different to someone in the opposite position, and maybe that's the point.

In the end, we're all wallflowers.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Of Spying and Samaritans

It's been a while since I had a truly bloggable Chelsey-day. My life has involved a lot of sitting in the couch watching Shameless, and that's not particularly story-worthy. Yesterday, though. Oh, yesterday.

My laptop died last week. Hard drive went pfft, and to get it fixed I have to take in the original hard drive (I replaced it to get more memory in December). That is at home...somewhere. It being the most hectic part of the semester, I made the executive decision to upgrade and sell my old one once it is fixed. So, I drug my butt out into the snow yesterday to go to the Apple Store, where I spent WAY too much money on a laptop and got my cracked iPad replaced. With two hours to spare until class, I then took a cab down to school. While on the way, I stuffed the massive laptop box into my backpack, discovering a new zipper in the process. (The bag has SO MANY POCKETS).

And I left my phone in the cab.

For those keeping score, that's the second time this semester.

Anyway, I stood in the street for a while, hoping the driver would turn around. He didn't. I ran inside and spread out on the library floor. My new iPad wouldn't connect, so I had to take out the computer, go on Find My iPhone, download Skype... With Find My iPhone, I could SEE my phone driving away. This was a good sign compared to last time, though, when whomever found it turned it off making it untraceable. I sent a message to the phone, made it make noise, called the cab company.  They could only message the drivers, and no, it didn't help that I could tell them EXACTLY WHERE HE WAS, AT THAT SECOND.

In the message I sent to my phone, I gave them my mother's number to call. Had I been smart, I would have given them my roommate's instead and kept my mom out of it.... Anyway, she got a call from a man named Joe who had my phone. He'd sat on it, and it kept making noise. (Score one for Find my iPhone.) He left it with the receptionist at his office. I got up this morning, took The Ride down to the South End and had my phone back before breakfast.  It was so lucky, and so great of him. There are good people out there.

On the trip back, my Ride driver commented that if you wanted to spy on someone, you could pretend to leave your phone in their car and track them.

So there's that.

At least I didn't drop it in one of the massive puddles outside the library.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Good Things

Written yesterday, but posted in the wrong place. Oops. 

I'm twenty-four today. I have many feelings about this, but they tend to make anyone older than me roll their eyes, so I'll leave off here. It's been a rough few weeks for me mentally--I hate winter--but today has good things. A new Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Grey's Anatomy (with Zola!), and Crash Course. Dinner with my friends. Good things. Also, I finally unpacked the latte maker my mom gave me for Christmas and holy shizznit, I may never leave the apartment again. Not like I do anyway.

Other good things are the fact that I've decided to start querying Ghost Light again on the first. I got a rejection on the full I had out (this morning. Happy birthday to me), so it'll be a fresh start. Also, I got into Cupid's Blind Speed Dating Contest thanks to the kissing scene I posted (totally exciting, because that was my Revision-in-Progress), and it'll be finishing up. Perfect timing, no excuses.

The next Maureen Johnson book comes out Tuesday. I pre-ordered from Harvard Bookstore, rather than online, because it's less than half a mile away. I forgot that about snow. I forgot that I have class on Tuesdays, and will have to walk up there with my bag, and that it's further than the bus stop I take paratransit rather than walking to. I have a major presentation that day. Picking my book up before class. Honey badger don't curr. Of course, online-orders are starting to ship, but the sooner I get it, the sooner I'll want the third one. I can wait.

This is the reasoning that started when I got denied the ARC from NetGalley.

My sorority little posted this on my facebook wall this morning. Snape's last line is particularly apt, because I do, in fact, share a birthday with Alan Rickman. Enjoy!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Another Reading!

Real update one of these days, I swear, but for Bostonians, I'm doing another New Voices reading at the Brookline Public Library on Wednesday, the 20th, at 3pm. It's the day before my birthday, so please come if you can!

Monday, February 4, 2013

CLC Kissing Scene Competition

You guys know I rarely post writing here, but this was too fun to pass up. Cupid's Literary Connection is having a kissing scene contest, and I just got to the hot first kiss in the manuscript I'm revising!

This comes from my YA manuscript FALL TO PIECES. After an accident at a concert that leads to her losing her leg, wannabe rockstar Meridian has had to forgo the transient life she has with her travel-writing mother. She moves to suburban Massachusetts to live with with her aunt, uncle and cousin, Natalie. Most people in town think she’s an attention-seeking brat, except for Kyle, the boy next door, who is the only one who doesn’t treat her like a snobbish foreigner. In this scene, they’re sitting in her front yard, waiting for her aunt to get home.

“I have a theory about why you’re avoiding me,” Kyle said.

“I’m not one of your characters. You can’t dissect me.” I reached for my crutches, but his breath was brushing my cheek in a way I couldn’t bring myself to pull away from.

“You’ve never told anyone so much about yourself. You’re used to people either knowing everything already, or not caring about the past.”

I put one hand against the trunk of the tree and lifted my butt up a couple of inches.

“Don’t.” His pressed his hand against my knee—my left knee. His face didn’t show that he’d even noticed where his fingers landed. He didn’t care.

“Your freckles,” I said, tilting his face to examine them. “They’re like tiny clusters of musical notes without a scale.” He leaned back a little and squinted at me. I smiled. He didn’t always know what I was thinking. “I wonder what they’d sound like.”

“Can you play them?” he asked. The blush in his cheeks went up a notch, and the curiosity in his eyes was even more intense than it got whenever I told him about my most fascinating Parisian nights. 

“You know it.” I pressed my lips against one of the freckles, then moved it down to the next one, varying speeds based on the width of the dots, like they were whole-notes and eightth-notes dancing around without a time stamp. “How’m I doing?”

Writer Boy didn’t respond with words. He moved his neck just enough for our mouths to meet, and in the beat before my mind processed the tingling in my lips, I realized that silence could express as much emotion as song.

Kyle kissed without desperation or impatience. He put his arms around me, but his hands didn’t go straight to my waistband. Too soon, he drew back. The flower slipped out of my hair, but he caught it. He swept it across my mouth and then offered it to me. “I just want you to know, it’s okay. You can tell me things. Anything you want. I won’t….”