Thursday, March 31, 2011

The New Plan

Okay. So of my two interviews scheduled yesterday, only one actually happened. The one that actually happened was received in two completely different ways: my way, and my mother's way.

I think we all know which one was more negative.

So the Lakers lady cancelled and the school meeting went well (in my opinion) and there's so much drama at my house right now, we make Jersey Shore look boring. Between my brother raising my niece and my parents running two businesses and my sisters raising hell with each other and everyone else, my issues have taken the back burner. Not that they were ever a priority in the first place - save that one week in November - but now it's like I'm just in the way again. I don't want more attention so much as I'm not pleased with being back in my "burdensome, just get over it and on with your life" stage. Not pleasant.

But basically, what was discussed (briefly) was that I am supposed to come back to school in the fall, and I'm going to get a new academic advisor once I get a new academic plan, as well as a "spiritual" advisor, and will continue meeting with Hung until I'm comfortably settled and on my two feet once again. I'll only be taking 12 units (4 classes instead of 5) for at least the first semester to get my sea legs again, and ... it'll be good. I guess. I'm on the wait list for housing, and am working out all the other hoops I have to jump through to get back on track.

And I'm not letting ANYTHING stop me this time.

“I have a new plan: to go mad.” - Dostoevsky, "Letters of Fyodor Dostoevsky" (courtesy of Tumblr)


Monday, March 28, 2011

Smoke & Mirrors

Smoke & Mirrors

She’s back again tonight. The girl and her cigarettes. She hasn’t been by in a few weeks, but she’s out there tonight in her oversized denim jacket, tight-fitted jeans and high heels. She always stops across the street from the house and smokes in the park under the streetlight. She can’t see me – probably doesn’t know I’m even here – but from my room, with the light off, I can see her perfectly. It’s eerily beautiful.

I wonder a lot about who she is, where she comes from and why she smokes here sometimes. Is she running away from something? I used to think she was waiting for someone to meet her, but it’s always the same. She stops, gets out, lights a cigarette, smokes 1, sometimes as many as 3 or 4, gets in her car and drives away. I imagine her with an older boyfriend who isn’t that nice to her, and she has to come here to find some peace and quiet and dark anonymity. I imagined she was a hooker once, in heels like that. But so many times she just looks so nice. When she first started coming (or I first started noticing), I thought she couldn’t have been older than 15 and she still does sometimes. Other times, she looks much older – mid 20s, I guess. Tonight she’s dressed older. She’s worn her hair in a fancy up-do with a lot of pins, but she carelessly pulls them all out and shakes her long hair out.

I imagine her as a singer, someone who has a soul full of music inside. She has art and champagne and jasmine-scented roses inside of her. She plays guitar all weekend and works as a waitress on weekdays, writing new songs constantly. The cold and the cigarettes help her think, give her new ideas, clear her head and give her time and space away from everything.

She’s finished her cigarette – only one tonight – and is carefully, carefully pinning her hair back up with a twist and a jab. She pulls a bottle of perfume from her purse and sprays herself. I imagine jasmine and roses again while wondering who she’s hiding from. She opens her car door and I see her face glistening. We both pause. Then, like she heard me breathe again, she looks directly at my window and I back away. She can’t have seen me, but she smiles to herself anyway. A weak smile, one that says, “I can’t.” This girl surrounded by smoke gets in her car and drives away. As her headlights fade, I imagine her going somewhere happy. I look in the mirror.

And I wonder what a cigarette tastes like.

Written while watching someone watching someone else. Meta-creeping, if you will.

"Those who keep silence hurt more..." ~ C.S. Lewis


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Write On…

So today I got an unexpected phone call. On second thought, I was expecting it, but not until tomorrow. So it was still a bit surprising, but not an out-of-the-blue, crazy-ass, “WHOA!” kind of surprise. Understand, there’s a lovely little woman who sits in the same seat at every Lakers home game (and has for the last 20 years or something) whom I’m marvelously fascinated with. I plucked up some nerve (right out of my garden of virtues!) and wrote her a note for my mother to deliver on Friday night explaining who I am, what my goals are and the whole writing thing, and expressed my desire to interview her.

She called this afternoon and said she’d be delighted to talk with me. She (Her name is Shirley, by the way. Ms. Shirley Green.) seemed confused as to why I would pick her of all people, but I explained that she just seemed like someone I’d like to get to know a bit better; someone I’d like to write about. We have a late lunch date scheduled for Wednesday afternoon in Culver City. I’m nervous-excited with a dash of anxious.

Mostly, I’m thrilled that… Things are finally happening. This is my first real interview as a writer, as someone trying to get real stories and put them into words. This isn’t me eavesdropping or observing from any kind of distance. I’m being upfront about my intentions and sitting down with a complete stranger to get her story with the express purpose of improving my writing. I feel almost like a professional writer with this ahead of me.

I mean, let’s be honest. 6 months ago, 3 months ago: I wouldn’t have the guts or the strength to be doing something like this. I can’t wait to tell Aunt Leslie and Uncle Andy how it goes. I’m a little concerned about not knowing what to ask, or being too formal and making her uncomfortable, or acting too unprofessional or… No. I will not let something as unnecessarily paralyzing as an anxiety disorder ruin this. I am not my illnesses. I am a writer. So there.

In other news, the Judy Moody movie will be released nationwide on June 10th of this year and it looks absolutely adorable. It’s like Beezus and Ramona with a summery, ridiculous twist. “R A R E!” I’m definitely excited to see it and will, of course, be doing another write-up on it – review style! See the trailer here.

Also, please note the new “Contact” tab on the pages bar. You can contact me super-easy and super-secret like so nobody’s info is compromised prior to the actual messaging. Cool, huh? Last, more reviews on YA and kid-lit are coming, fear not! Also be sure to check my “Scribbles…” page for a few new fiction pieces. Cheers!

New Page: Book Reviews

I've officially created a new page is for my reviews on books. Bear in mind, dear Reader, that the majority of the books I will be reviewing/summarizing are YA - young adult fiction. This is fiction aimed at readers between the ages of 12 and 20. That's a wide gap and covers quite a range of literature, but that range covers primarily fantasy, adventure, the occasional sci-fi, and a great deal of standard fiction. Some of it is fluff, some of it is really profound. All of it is honest. At least, the review part. Here, I can be a little blunter than I can be at work. Not that I have to be extremely censored at work, I just try to lighten my opinion a little and be a little more... open-minded. Here, I can be as blunt and as opinionated as is professional. Which sometimes comes off a little ... mean? Cynical. Critical, even. But I do so with the utmost respect to each author and each book I review (with the sole exception of Twilight) because if your work is being published in the mainstream, that alone deserves respect.

Please bear in mind that I am not what is typically considered a professional reviewer. I'm an almost-professional at this. I work in a children's bookstore so I'm almost constantly exposed to literature aimed at people under the age of 16. I'm almost 21 (kid at heart much?). But I approach books as a fellow writer, as someone who understands and respects the crafting that goes into great literature. As I state previously, I have a great deal of respect for authors, and will endeavor to have that reflect in each review I post. Please understand that my opinion is based on having read countless titles in children's and YA fiction over the years, from classics to the latest craze, and therefore I may, at times, seem a bit jaded. This is not intentional, this is me being realistic about how good something is in comparison, versus how good something is just at face value. As time passes, I will continue evolving my format for reviewing into something hopefully more accessible than my miscellaneous jumbled thoughts spewed onto pages.

But be excited! SO many books I've been aching to write about, to share my opinions on! Plus, I feel like great writers are great readers, and if you don't read, how can one possibly hope to write?

"We do not write because we want to, we write because we have to." ~ W. Somerset Maugham.

Write on,


Friday, March 25, 2011


So I've been putting this off for eons, but it's high time we put some of those reviews up, don't you think?

The Lost Hero: (by Rick Riordan; hardcover)

Huge fan of the Percy Jackson series and looking for more modern mythology? Rick Riordan has done it again with an exciting new series that picks up right where he left off. When Jason wakes up on a school bus with no memory of how he got there or who he is save for his supposed girlfriend Piper and best friend Leo, he can only react when his classmates are attacked by storm spirits. They are saved by Annabeth – who is searching for the missing Percy Jackson – and taken to Camp Half-Blood where they learn they are demigods. A whole new quest with a pressing timeline, these new heroes face even more mythical monsters and a cliff-hanger ending that will leave readers breathlessly begging for more.

Look for the sequel: The Son of Neptune, available in hardcover this fall: Percy Jackson is still missing, and Jason is still piecing together who he is. But in another camp far from Camp Half-Blood, a new camper has shown up, and he appears to be the son of Neptune, god of the sea . . .

This is just a teasing summary. I'll be posting a more thorough review shortly. Once I get all the other ones in to my boss.... Yikes.

**Update: More thorough review (as in my personal comments and critiques) now up on the "Book Reviews" page, found up on the tabs bar. **

Monday, March 21, 2011

One Hour Write: "Garden Daze"

From my "One Hour Write" session on 2/27/2011 at 3:30pm.

Today was so gloriously beautiful, it was almost nauseating. It's still glorious out, but a bit chillier. I'm sitting in the Sky Swing off the garden, watching the cats lazily eye the pigeons, doves, chickadees and robins at Mom's bird-feeders. The breeze is teasing the wind chimes, and the sound is so comforting; it sounds like summers growing up.

There's so much snow on the mountains, but our sky is clearer than the water of the Bahamas. Dad took the girls up for some sledding (an estimated 20 inches in Big Bear and counting!) but I want to enjoy the clear air and sunshine while it lasts. It's been so cold lately, I want to enjoy this taste of springtime a bit longer.

I caught myself gardening earlier. Funny, I know. It started as just picking some obnoxious (but easy) weeds, then sweeping the stepping stones, then taking an inventory of the funny things the garden has collected over the years. As follows:

  • 2 fat, round cats and 1 curled up gray one
  • 4 toadstool mushrooms - 2 small, 2 large
  • 1 brick ladybug
  • 1 wrought iron bumblebee
  • 2 large, hanging butterflies (painted)
  • 2 small turtles
  • 1 statue of two little girls holding hands and dancing
  • 1 statue of St. Francis (birdfeeder)
  • 1 large, painted rock w/ a pithy quote
  • 2 wishing wells
  • 3 variously sized stone crosses of different styles
  • 2 shiny bowling balls
  • 3 small step-stone faces
  • 2 small stone "heads"
  • 1 teacup and saucer atop a pole
  • 2 small birdhouse feeders
  • 2 giant "foot" planters
  • 1 pot-bellied stove
  • 2 painted watering cans (1 large, 1 small)
  • 1 small, decorative wheelbarow skeleton
  • several small, painted suncatchers
  • 1 ancient - working! - windchime
  • and countless other odds and ends
I think I ought to go put something warmer on; this chill is setting in. ... Ah, better. I'm going to start putting plans together for my birthday party. I'm really excited, especially because it's getting closer and it really might happen. I'll be working out my plans in detail over the coming weeks. ... So excited!!! Here's what I have so far....:

Potential (super sketchy) guest list, somewhat over-full menu (in need of weeding out and testing! YUM), veeeeeeeery detailed notes on decorations, list of flowers to involve, notes on party favors and a few drafts of invitations.

I'm really, really, really excited, by the way. Have you guessed?

Love all, trust few, do wrong to no one. ~ William Shakespeare


Saturday, March 19, 2011

"When You're Gone"

Have you ever gone on a long trip, or away somewhere for a semi-extended period of time, or just kinda dropped off the face of the planet however briefly? Kay, then welcome to my world. I am apparently persona non grata these days, since I've "disappeared" from life and the social radars of the people I once referred to as best friends only a few short months ago. It's not a pleasant feeling, believe me.

It's not that I don't understand, mind you. I imagine it's hard to be friends with a crazy, suicidal person who can't really deal with reality. I'm sure that when I left, "went home and got help" that several people breathed sighs of sure relief, glad to be done with the surely daunting task of taking care of me. After living with someone as unstable as me, I'm sure being able to get on with their lives and focus on simpler, easier-to-solve problems like studying for finals, going abroad and finding a date for Saturday night was thrilling - relieving. It's doubtless a lot more peaceful to self-delude that that one high-maintenance friend is now "getting what she needs" rather than continuing to worry. I don't blame them. At all.

But I am surprised.

The trouble is, I was never high-maintenance before all this happened. I was always the one getting others out of their drama, not dragging them deeper into it. I was the person holding them up, never the other way around. But then the tables turned, rather drastically, and I was the one hiding under her bed crying all the time, not going to class or doing schoolwork, unmotivated, and generally falling to pieces. When I finally made the decision to leave school (meaning my friends [family, more like], my entire support system, my doctors, my HOME, the only place that was really safe), it was as if I had stepped into 2 weeks of peace. I had two weeks to tell the people I meant to tell, to tie up lose ends, to pack, to make arrangements for when I went home, to try to figure out a plan to return. Two weeks of no class, no expectations, nothing but last lunches with friends, last meetings with "babies", last days as the Free Hugs Girl.

Two months later, I realized what a huge mistake I was making.

See, after I "went home to get help" I wound up stuck in the hospital for a week. It was unpleasant. It made it all too easy for certain people to just forget I was ever around and just make their lives easier. I'm learning something, though.

I'm learning that none of the people who "supported" my decision to leave and then forgot about me matter. The people who haven't reached out in the last 6 months aren't important. They left me hanging, and now they don't get me back. I'm better than them, I deserve better, and while my circle of friends is basically decimated, the ones I have left are the ones that matter. When I go back to school, I'll be able to look right past the people that forgot about me and keep on walking without flinching, without sagging my shoulders, and without reaching out to them in need.

It's so easy to let someone leave and forget that they're gone or the reasons they left. But it won't be easy to ignore me when I'm busy not needing you anymore.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Really? REALLY!?

That's IT. I'm done going through life pissed off about everything. Soon as I find my medical information, I'm going to boot camp, establishing a career, finding a wife, and STARTING A LIFE! Monday (3/14/11) @ 10:13PM.

That made me laugh. Especially the "finding a wife" part. 'Cause, y'know, that's WHY HE FUCKING BROKE UP WITH ME. No big. I'm over it. Mostly.

So. Yeah. It's been a rough couple of days since then, and well... I feel like I'm sliding backwards almost. Annoying and frustrating and borderline heartbreaking. I want so much to be better, to be above how awful he still makes me feel, but despite how much better I feel some days, there are still days (too many, in my opinion) that leave me feeling broken and helpless. Coffee helps. Chocolate helps. Buffy marathons with Rose help. But nothing's made it better yet. It still isn't right. I mean, I was a mess before we met, I'll give you that. But it sucks that I had a couple years of being somewhat okay and then *poof* back to where I started. No, about three miles behind where I started.

I suppose this concludes today's angry outburst. Just know that I'm not feeling very forgiving right now if you happen to meet me on the street somewhere. And Robert? He's a poncey-twatted tossbag prick. So there.