Still Alive, Still UPBEAT

So I finally quit my soul-sucking job as a grant writer. I didn’t last very long (six months), but I got tired of applying to jobs in the meantime and waiting to hear back before I put in my two weeks. Luckily I have good friends, supportive parents, and a very stable girlfriend. I’ve taken a significant pay cut but now I’m working for a bookstore and life is slightly less heavy.

Untitled by jamieswang on Flickr.

Untitled by jamieswang on Flickr.

Mostly every day is still a struggle between problems with self-worth and anxiety. I’ve found that working in retail helps twofold (kinda) because I’m on my feet all day and I’m mostly smiling at customers all day, which convinces my brain to think, “Hey, we must be happy!” It’s nice to be working in a more open environment, surrounded by things in which I’m interested, as well as to be working with more amiable coworkers and managers.

Still, the struggle to remain UPBEAT continues. It’s been about two years since I started my novel and I am still struggling on the precipice of the 50% mark. About a quarter of the time I wonder if this project is still worth the struggle when I could just as easily take up something new. Another quarter of the time the apathy takes over and I distract myself with reading and crocheting and all the shiny new TV shows Netflix has to offer. The rest of the time is taken up by Real World concerns and the slog through the actual writing, novel or otherwise. (Shameless plug: I am still regularly writing on media representation and diversity for OKPotato and we should all be proud!)

So, here are some great distractions for the rest of you also struggling to write!:

  • Anything by Helen Oyeyemi. I’ve seen her name on Tumblr for a while, so I picked up Mr. Fox and White is for Witching and added them to my To Be Read pile. I’ve only gotten around to both recently and they are fantastic. The former is about an author’s muse confronting the author’s penchant for killing off his female characters. Together they rewrite fairy tales, transforming the real world into Mr. Fox’s stories. The latter novel is a challenge well-worth it, a Shirley Jackson-esque gothic house horror mixed in with racial politics. Oyeyemi’s other books include Boy Snow Bird (a twist on Snow White) and The Icarus Girl (a horror story with Nigerian mythology).

    3

  • I recently spent some much-needed and precious alone time with my girlfriend and we made the mistake of deciding on my Netflix DVD queue to help us bond. We watched South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook’s first English-language film, Stoker (2013). We knew it was a psychological thriller going in and we were excited to see Nicole Kidman angrily acting opposite Mia Wasikowska but we also had no idea about any of the plot points.

    The movie follows 18-year old India (Wasikowska) following the death of her father. Her grieving mother (Kidman) accepts support from her long-absent younger brother-in-law, Charlie (a very creepy Matthew Goode), who immediately moves into the house and begins to approach India as a kindred soul. (SPOILER ALERT) Basically this turns into the incestuous serial killer romance I never knew I wanted or needed, complete with piano orgasms, hunting metaphors, and lots of dramatic dysfunctional family yelling.

  • Lastly, if you’re as stressed as I am, I highly suggest crocheting and heading over to my friend Jojo-gurumi‘s page for some really cute, fairly simple patterns.

Got any more distractions for me or words of wisdom to keep me from going astray, readers? Let me know in the comments. As always, check Chebk and I out at OKPotato for book reviews, writing tips, and discussions of diversity in books, movies, and more!

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Being an Adult is Hard

I’m sure if I google this blog title I’ll come up with millions upon millions of results, but that would be depressing so I won’t risk it.

Lately I’ve been complaining that no one really prepared me for my twenties. Nothing I learned in high school health class seems applicable now except how to balance my checkbook, which…I don’t do because I don’t use my checks. (Side note: I’m sure all the sex ed would have been helpful had I been straight. Whoops.) I would also be lying if I said I didn’t know what I expected for this time of my life because what I expected was to be a published author, writing all day and night effortlessly, not having to worry about the daily work grind. I was allowed to be an idealist for 25 years of my life. I’m sure there were naysayers aplenty that I just ignored. So now I’m facing the reality of it all: I am the one who did not prepare myself for my twenties and, fuck, it wasn’t a good choice.

I pushed myself hard through school but never really pushed myself into working to sustain it because I was lucky enough to have my parents to help with schooling while I still lived at home. That’s a goddamn lot of privilege, I am well aware.

So, now, here I am working part-time, writing the rest of the time (or trying to) and struggling ALL the time. My girlfriend of four years is still in school to get her second degree in the sciences but she has also added on a full-time job. We see each other a lot less and, if I take on a full-time position at my present job, we will see each other only on weekends very soon. I’m learning pretty quickly how naive I was to think that we could keep each other as a main daily priority through all these very sudden Adult Decisions. It’s jarring and depressing and nauseating.

I am trying to finish my novel to maybe make my teenage dream a reality but the lingering thought through everything now is: What if I just don’t make it as a writer? What if this is it?

The important thing, I know, is to try because that is the only way to climb up out of the mire, but then there are still so many other people that are going to be left to fill my position and that…that is also depressing.

So, because today is so dark, a brief list of good things to hold on to:

1. Good relationships all around
2. An almost half-finished novel. (Dear self, That is something, whether you choose to believe it or not. Love, Me.)
3. No rent to pay. What a spoiled brat.
4. A writing group that believes in me enough to try to convince me not to work full-time and sell my soul.
5. I don’t know, puppies or something.

I’m trying. I say this a lot now days. I think that may be the point of my twenties.

I am going to make it through this year if it kills me!

There and Back Again: A Blogger’s Tale

At 4’5″ I still qualify for some hobbit-related licenses. Also, can I just say: There was a kind of tragic, but arrogant victory in leaving my NaNo 2014 fail up for so long, wasn’t there?

Well, I’m back! — but I have not been idle. I have been working tirelessly with Chebk to kick our shared blog, OKPotato, into gear, where we focus on media representation and diversity in stories. Please, also check out the guest blog I did for Cynthia Griffin on self-editing, (which I hope to be expanding on here very soon). Books have been read and weird short stories have been written but I have admittedly been neglecting this blog and…my novel.


I have no idea what I am doing with my life besides wanting to be a published writer. Paradoxically this has been keeping me from writing because what if I fail? I know, in my head, that the trying is more important that the not trying, but these past few months have been an uphill battle.

Still, I’m back in the saddle and I have a really good support system cheering me on. Chebk and I are doing a daily blogging challenge for January, so you can see some of my writing there. I will also be updating weekly to biweekly here starting with a truly embarrassing anecdote-based blog Chebk has been pushing under the guise of a human interest piece, so look forward to that, friends.

For now, happy belated new year, and let’s get this party re-started.