Choosing happiness

“Choosing happiness,” “Creating our own realities”… These phrases get thrown around a lot in certain circles. I’m not convinced that they’re wrong, but I’m not ready to say that I believe in them either. At the same time, I find myself echoing these platitudes in my own life, through my actions. Living it out without consciously meaning to.

It’s choosing “Coconut Girl” over listening to one more round of the Avett Brothers. It’s listening to T-Pain’s “Up Down” (yeah, yeah, go on; judge me) instead of Bon Iver’s cover of “Coming Down.” I used to dwell on my sadness, wallow in it. Sorrowful songs were just another way down the rabbit hole.

I’m still not sure I had a choice to do it any other way. Depression is a bear of an illness, and I have no judgments for my younger self. No condemnation or reproach. You can’t bootstrap yourself out of mental malady.

And yet, I’m so grateful that I’ve found a different way these days. I seem to have developed a natural aversion to the things that upset me. Does that sound crazy? Is that just how humans usually are, fresh off the lot and out of the womb? Because it feels like a revelation to me, a wild wonderful innovation, that I can choose the other door. Take the flowers instead of the thorns.

I can put down the things that burn me and grab a cool drink instead. It’s blissful.

 

Dialogue Exercises

“I’ve discovered the most amazing thing.” 

She catches her lover as he tumbles out of bed in the morning, stumbling through her workspace in the living room on the way to the kitchen. He holds up a single finger, exhaustion written plainly on his face, and she falls silent.

He points at his empty coffee mug. “This is necessary.”

She nods.

“Crap.” She hears the exclamation from the other room.

“We’re out of K-cups in there,” she calls. “You’re gonna have to open a new pack.”

She turns back to her work, listening to the rustling of plastic packaging and the mechanical hum of the coffee maker from the kitchen.


Writing exercises. Love them or hate them, they’re great for honing your craft or getting you out of a rut. Especially when you’re working on long form fiction, it’s nice to take a little mental break and give your brain some space to play.

Dialogue writing exercises are one of my favorites (maybe because I’m still working out the kinks of writing realistic, yet compelling dialogue myself). Here are the rules for this one:

Listen to a conversation and jot down the dialogue word-for-word. You might be surprised at how silly most dialogue actually sounds, or how much people generally rely on context to provide information. Real dialogue is generally not very exposition-heavy. Next, build a scene around the dialogue you heard.

Keep it short, sweet, and to the point. If anyone wants to play along, leave your drabbles in the comments below.

Japanese BB cream, anyone?

canmake perfect serum

I’m a sucker for Japanese skincare. Considering the markup for overseas shipping, it’s one of my more frivolous indulgences. When you have to wait a month (or more!) to get your goodies, it’s always so exciting when the box finally arrives.

Japanese packaging never ceases to surprise me with how goddamn cute it is. Check out the little candy that I found at the very bottom of the shipping envelope.

What a pleasant present. :)

An Underwhelming NYE, 2014

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope your nights were fulfilling, wonderful, exciting (and soaked in a good deal of the spirit of your choice).

I have a confession to make, though:

My night was none of those things. My new year’s eve, 2014, was grumpy, boring and sleepy. I fell asleep at 9:30 “just to take a nap”. My boyfriend tried to wake me up at midnight, and it kind of worked; I blearily woke up, gave him a new years’ kiss that I hardly remember, groused that he almost killed off the bottle of wine without me… and promptly fell back asleep.

That is my dirty little secret. My job leaves me too wiped out and tired to do much of anything beyond sleep like the dead and drink copious amounts of coffee. Happy new year, everyone.

Folks, I need a new job, one that doesn’t do that to me.

I feel like a quitter. I slip into and out of jobs so often, because they never feel right. I am Goldilocks complaining of too hot and too cold. Sometimes I worry that it’s a flaw of character, but then I remember all the beautiful quitters who have gone before me. The artists and the writers and the homesteaders. Everyone tells me that I work so hard, so why do I always feel so damn lazy?

I would almost always rather be writing. Is it a defect that I feel like I have so much more to contribute than as a cog in a very big machine?

Happy Holidays from Where I Am to Where You Are.

What does a grown woman do for Christmas when she’s far away from her families?

I typed that about a week ago, when I was trying to figure out how to spend the holidays. What do you do? How do you spend it when your loved ones are thousands of miles away?

As it turns out, the question answers itself, and life decides for you. I spent it: Alternately arguing with and loving my boyfriend; binge watching the tv show Dollhouse (for the second time); wrapping and opening presents; heating up food for the giant food drive/party my roommate put on for the homeless; playing with new toys; and knitting socks.

And calling my family. I hate the telephone. I hate talking on it, but phone call after phone felt like an upward slog, yes… hard for someone with as many anxieties and social phobias as I’ve got. But it was also very, very nice.

It felt good to reach out and touch those far-away loved ones through words. To talk about inconsequential things and wish each other well. I am still learning things about the people that I love so well. Even my family. Each conversation is a chance to learn something new. We are always learning, always growing, always changing.

Someone told me once, a girl named Julia on a farm in the middle of the North Carolina wilderness…. she wrote me a letter. She wrote that loving someone means wanting to learn them, like a language. We are the sum of our parts.

I think that must also mean that loving someone means showing yourself to them. Peeling away the layers and defenses bit by bit and piece by piece, shucking yourself of them like an ear of corn to reveal the juicy, gem-like sweetness underneath.

Happy holidays, everyone. I hope you are showing yourselves to those who appreciate you, and I hope you’re learning your loved ones better every day.

Gratitude at 7am

I woke up feeling nauseous this morning. I couldn’t tell you exactly why. It might be the early hour.

You see, for the past two days, I’ve been trying to wake up an hour earlier in order to write. I am not a morning person. It’s difficult… but I love what I do, and I love any chance to play with my characters in their world (even if bringing myself to my laptop to edit sometimes feels like dragging a five-year-old to the dentist).

I think my reluctance to write lately has been, also, about my lack of familiarity with editing. Historically, I’ve done embarrassingly little editing, and so suddenly trying to “fix” something as big as a 100k work manuscript is daunting to me. Trying to make the whole thing cohesive is a challenge, but I’ve worked at it a little every day for the past three days. It feels like a little victory.

Is this boring to you? I talk about writing a lot, but I’m never quite sure what to say, or how much I should say about myself. I’m a private person in my day to day life, and sharing sometimes feels uncomfortable. It’s the reason that I hid all of my older posts when I did my site redesign. I wasn’t sure if I was somehow sharing too much. I have plans to go back and restore most of them soon, maybe on a rainy day, when I have the time to go through them for quality control.

One last thought; one last thing that I feel like sharing, and it feels important: A kind stranger left me a donation on this blog yesterday, and it brought up feelings I wasn’t expecting. Happiness, I was expecting, which was there… but more than that? I felt very humbled and so grateful, and if I’m being honest, a little scared. It brought up all those sleeping-dog doubts of, “Who am I, that anyone should listen to me? Who am I, to think that I have something to say?”

“I’m proud of you,” was all that my love had to say on it, his face smiling and full of love. “I’m so proud of you.” And the doubt dogs drowsed again.

So thank you, whoever is out there and reading this. I am grateful and humbled. I hope you stick around and keep reading for as long as you’re feeling it.