Living While We’re Alive

I’m slowly taking steps towards rejoining the world of the living. It’s kind of wonderful.

Financially, me being sick now is the worst thing that could have happened. In terms of stress, it’s also the worst thing that could have happened this year.

But, last night, my church held a benefit concert to raise money to pay for my continued treatments. Our best friends/adopted family members, Jo-Mari and Bradley, our Choir Director and Organist, put together a wonderful concert of American composers for Flag Day, and the concert was incredible. We are so completely blessed to have had such wonderful people surrounding us with their love and prayers during these last terrible months, and last night reinforced that.

We are feeling so incredibly grateful. We are feeling so loved. We are feeling like we can get through this.

It’s living while we’re alive that’s important. And right now, we’re alive. Let’s live.

Life as it’s been lately.

It’s been so long since I’ve been on here! If I thought any of you were still reading, I’d apologize. C’est la vie.

Anyway, I blogged about being in Hawaii at a tumblr I set up specifically for that (, but I’ve been back in New York since the week before Christmas. At first, It was just a Christmas visit/going to the doctors for a tune up, but it ended up being four months (so far) of intense intravenous treatment for lupus and inflammation–I was on leukemia watch for three months–and dealing with constant and agonizing pain, which nothing has taken the edge off of.

In the real thick of it, I wasn’t really able to write. Actually, on the whole, this year has been the least productive writing year I’ve had in a while. In Hawaii, there was so much going on that writing was difficult for me, and then being sick and exhausted and in pain all the time for the last month or so that I was there, and then being in New York with all of the above plus doctors visits and cold shock, my life hasn’t been conducive to writing much. But I am writing again. My memoir about living with chronic illness is close to done. I’ve written some essay-like things about chronic illness, as well. I’ve read John Green’s The Fault in our Stars ten times, and have listened to it as an audio book three times. I’ve read some other books as well, but I haven’t been able to “get over” TFioS.

I finally went to PF Chang’s, and I entirely understand why every celiac who has ever gone has become obsessed. It’s so good. I’ve eaten A LOT of Chipotle. I’ve seen friends. I’ve tried to act like a person in her twenties while I’ve waited to see what the new normal is… For now, life’s another transition and another life change.

My goal for this blog moving forward! I’ve been inspired by the community of writers I’ve met through my MFA and through The Children’s Book Hub, and so I’d like to move into a place where there’s a regular schedule of content on this blog. I had a schedule figured out, but I think I want to tweak it a bit more. But my goal is to have posts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturday or Sunday (and maybe both in the future). Each day will have a theme (I have a couple of friends who participate in Perfect Picture Book Fridays–Susannah has a great list of PBs for reference–and I think it’s sweet, so I’m hoping to incorporate regular book reviews into this blog: they just won’t be picture books.)

And of course, I will be screaming from the top of this blog when my memoir is finished, and I’m sure there’ll be lots of spam, for which I will now issue a blanket apology. I apologize for any and all spamming both now and in future, as well as any alarm or distress that might be caused by my shrieking to the sun and the moon about having finished writing my memoir.

See you soon!


Hawaii, And Other Happenings

Three weeks ago, I left New York on a very large plane.  After a very long plane ride, I started my new life.  I’m in Hawaii living and working for a year.  I’m learning a lot, and also discovering new or forgotten things every day.

Hawaii is different from New York.  My life here is different from New York.  I’m not a student anymore.  The rules for real life are different than the rules that apply when you’re still technically a kid in that you’re not supporting yourself because you’re in graduate school beyond full-time.

I have myself, my voice, and that’s it.  And I can’t help but think that things would have been easier all along if I’d just known to ignore all of the other voices.

The Let Down

There’s a strange phenomenon going around in my head these days. One that feels so rare, it’s easy to forget that it exists. My forms will be signed and finished soon. I’ve had my graduation ceremony. I’ve even had my party. Oh, no, wait. I haven’t had that yet, because of The Let Down. The Let Down happens when everything is finished, and all the deadlines have passed, and you don’t have more deadlines imminently, or ever again. Not school deadlines, anyway. It’s sinking in, but I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t in a funk, or that I’ve been easy to live with on this pseudo-permanent-school’s-out-forever vacation.

I thought that I’d feel more prepared to face the world, and I just don’t, and I have plans. I don’t first have to go out and find a job and figure out how to support myself: I have a fantastic internship lined up. But nothing feels right. I’m too fussy, I don’t care, I don’t have an opinion, the whole world can fuck off and leave me alone, the whole world should just let me run things… Like I said, I’m driving my mother crazy.

The Let Down is what happens when the marathon is over, and the smoke has cleared, and you realize that, deep down, you’re not happy and fulfilled and suddenly, you don’t belong in any one place, or in any one category, and that all that shit you thought you had figured out, you really don’t have anything figured out.

Alter Egos

I think for a lot of writers, the characters they write become alter egos.  I don’t think that that’s been true for me, though many (but not all) of my characters have a lot of significant details in common with me.

This past week, I’ve been digging into family history, and into our beliefs. I’ve been doing a lot of reading of old textbooks and I appear to have sprouted an alter ego!(!!!!!!!!!) It started with me unnecessarily hashtagging things I’d thought were funny (#chirokidtellsyouhowtoadjust, for instance). But I think I like having Chiro Kid around, so she might stay.

It’s Official…

It’s official. I suck at cutting. In writing, they say you have to murder your darlings. I’m not even good at murdering not-my-darlings. I hate to cut words. There, I’ve said it. It’s out in the blogosphere for all the world to know that I suck at editing.

It’s the end of my last semester as a student (unless I decide to do a Ph.D., which I’ve been more and more nostalgic for recently, but that’s another story and not a definite possibility at all ever), and my body is tired. I’m limping towards the finish line, and my headspace is a wreck because I don’t want it to be over, but I need to be done with life on an academic calendar and running at full tilt all the time.

I’m supposed to be cutting 15,000 words from my thesis now, but in reality, I think I’ve cut a few hundred, and added around 2,000.

I told you I suck at this ;)

This summer, I’m going to read lots of wonderful KidLit, and I’m going to be doing some really heavy reading for my memoir. Dante, Milton, some poetry…

But only if I can cut those all those words.

First/Fourth Drafts

Recently (within the last two weeks), I finished the draft of my thesis novel.  It’s not entirely appropriate to call it a first draft, but it is in a way.  See, it’s the first full, completed draft, but in reality, the first half of it is more like a third-ish draft, and the second half of it is a first draft.  I have to revise it.  I have to get it to my second and third readers.

I can’t believe graduation is so close.

I can’t believe that I don’t have any clue what I’m doing next year.

I can’t believe how well ballet is going.  Oh, I might have forgotten to mention that I started dancing again this past September (I’d danced for many years, but had to stop when I injured my knee–it never healed due to the autoimmune disease, but now that that’s getting under control, it’s been great).  I’m doing pointe, which I was told would never EVER be possible in a million years (haha! Take that!)

I keep worrying about what’s to come, because I’d love to just write all day and night and be really artistically and creatively fulfilled, but I also know that I’d like to eat, so I have to figure out what that balance is going to be.  Life is everything and nothing like I thought it would be right now, but sometimes, I find these moments of peace, and I wonder what all the worry and stress and craziness is for, and then I have to go back into the craziness, but the moments make me feel like I’m right where I should be, and that everything will end up the way it’s supposed to end up.  And I try to remember that when I feel like the world is wrapping a noose around my neck and I can’t breathe.  I finished a draft.  The novel didn’t spiral out of (my) control and turn into a never-ending epic saga.  It’s done.  I feel great and strange and light.  I’m trying not to look for the falling anvil.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to let some stuff go.  Maybe TTOT will be done this year.  Maybe it will never be done.  I want it to be done, but maybe that’s just not in the cards.  Maybe I should focus on the picture book drafts I haven’t been doing and the novel that I can’t finish because I don’t have a master copy, and the memoir, and whatever writing project comes next.  And READING!  I can’t wait to start reading and doing book reviews again! <–I think I’ve reviewed exactly one book on here; this will change this summer after graduation.  Promise!

Sometimes, I feel like my life is a fourth draft.  Maybe that’s a great place to be.


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