Literary Merit

Reverse Peter Pan

I know how you feel, little man.

I’ve been thinking about something Melissa said the other day. “Either you’re an adult now, or you want to be.”

It’s undeniably true. I have been waffling between these two states since I was 23. I’m not going to lie about the ages of 18 through 22, as I was nothing even remotely similar to an adult at 18, no matter what I would have told you then, and I hadn’t enough of a concept of adulthood to want it in any meaningful fashion. And at 22 I was too busy ignoring it and pretending it would go away.

Now? I’m still in that weird in-between state most people inhabit for a year or two post-baccalaureate, despite the fact that I am 25 and still have not completed my degree. But I’m finishing it, which is a step in the right direction, and the experience is doing more than anything to underline the differences between myself and, well, my previous self.

One of my classmates this past week complained about the adult students in her other classes. She said, “God, they always complain about how they were at work all day and now they have to come to class. Um, hello, missy has been in class for six hours today!” Her tone was flippant, in such a way that only the truly naive are able to achieve, but at the same time, I remember being her. I remember sitting in classes, staring at older students, wondering why they were even kidding themselves. Their lives weren’t so difficult, they just couldn’t hack it as a student, because they didn’t belong there!

I mean, I was wrong. Sitting at a desk, staring at a computer monitor and fine print for eight hours a day is far more exhausting than it has any right to be. And I did try, as you may remember, working full time to support myself and attending a full course load, and ended up faceplanting back in my parents’ basement. (There is still a small chance I may have to return to that lifestyle, which is one reason I want to get good grades and finish as many credits as possible now.)

Anyway, the point isn’t the readings (which for the first time I am genuinely on top of) or the material (much of which is review, given how many Literature and Philosophy courses I have already completed), or the homework (which i actually finish ahead of time! god, the Mayans were right). It’s the whole outlook on life.

You never expect yourself to change. I guess that is why older people complain about “the young generation.” You perceive the world in relation to yourself, and it’s easy to lose track of whether it’s them moving, or you.

Thank you to mysterious Flickr photographer for listing your picture under Creative Commons. I really should start doing my own photography.

Oh, also, I apparently have a posting schedule now. If you don’t use a blog reader or subscribe, look for me every Monday morning at 9:00AM.


back to school!

… in more ways than one!

For those not “in the know,” which is pretty much everyone, since I have unfortunately dropped off the face of the earth and lost touch with almost everybody, I returned to school this semester. I am currently attending Immaculata University to complete my English degree and earn Secondary Education as well. It took me quite a long time to settle on education, but I am excited to cut my teeth (though admittedly terrified all the same), and I think it was a good decision, if a bit long in coming.

Actually, interestingly enough, considering there were previously no teachers in my family at all, two of my cousins, my step-cousin, both of my sisters and I are all pursuing education, in varying disciplines and grade-levels. Once we are all placed, it will definitely do interesting things to our family get-togethers, as the majority of us will share a field in common.

Anyway, the general result of Big Life Changes is that I am now working fewer hours (oh my goodness, the bills!), but I spend basically all of my other time either in class or doing homework with my sister. We now have weekly homework dates at Starbucks on Fridays, and have established Manifest Destiny over the family room, which is the most comfortable place to work despite the presence of the television and our parents’ proclivity to leave it on at all hours at about a thousand decibels.

Attending school at 25 is so much different than it was previously. It certainly helps that I’m living at home and that my sister has just as much work as I do. Working alongside someone else always does help productivity. I think, though, that it also helps that I’m older. I certainly have more discipline than I previously did. Hopefully that carries through to the end!

Other things of note:

I have a new writing project, though it is admittedly fanfiction and therefore won’t be linked from this blog. It is a crossover between Thor and The Silmarillion. Yeah. Contact me privately if you want details, and I will be more than happy to talk your ear off.

Also, unrelated, there is apparently a (small?) chance that my parents may have to move to LA. I don’t know if they will go through with this, or if my father is pursuing alternate career opportunities. It is strange, because all the other times they threatened to move it would have uprooted me. Now the whole situation is strange and distant. I know that my mother is upset by the possibility, but I find myself weirdly relaxed about the whole thing. I suppose it’s the firm knowledge that whatever happens I am not personally relocating. It would certainly be an inconvenience to have to move out shortly before student teaching, but I have ties here and it doesn’t make any sense for either me or my sister to go. The other two siblings would likely move, and my mother would be upset that we are not coming (if it even happens), but it’s a surprisingly manageable situation. She did seem to brighten considerably when I pointed out that, once we graduate and find teaching positions, we’ll most likely have summers off to visit and be visited.

I don’t know if anyone still knows this blog exists, but if you do, thanks for remembering me after so long!

things I am working on.

I started rewriting one of my stories. It’s the one about the girl couple, who are breaking up due to the literal specter of one of their indiscretion. I say “specter” because he’s alive, and is the main character of another story semi-unrelated to this one. When I first started this, it was in a MS Word document, with a long, rambling break-the-fourth-wall intro that developed into first-cum-second-person, present tense. At the time, the idea was that the point of view came from one and was directed at the other, to suggest that even though they weren’t literally speaking, her thoughts never left her now ex girlfriend.

It didn’t really work. Any number of people could (and did) tell me that at the time. I remember Melissa pulling one of those super polite “well if you really insist I don’t want to crush your literary dreams and far be it from me to tell you it could NEVER work but really what on earth are you even thinking” moves. And, well, most people who tell me I’m writing like an idiot turn out to be right, and as I receive and promptly ignore criticism, I know that, but I also know that on some level I need to come to the conclusion on my own. I mention it because it means that my original idea of copy/pasting the scenes into Scrivener to quick rework them into the current version really won’t work. Which is okay. It’s a bit neater now, and the tone has shifted slightly with a nice overtone of introspective regret, with shorter scenes and a nontraditional timeline.

Or so I say now. I barely have any written. I have most of the plotting and characterization done already, I just need to sit down and write the rest of it properly.

I’ve also been doing a bit more on Caedon’s Ghost Bar, and I’ve been toying with the idea of putting Molly Worthington to bed for a little while to return to The Asphalt Messiah, which is admittedly better developed, pre-writing-wise if not with regard to the setting. I’ve kind of burned myself out on the former, which isn’t to say I don’t want to finish it. Just, I miss Lucas and Logan and Alexa and Sofia and Antony. I miss the secret undercurrent of bloodlust that nobody but me is currently aware of, the promise of fangs and wickedness and non-human anthropocentrism. I still have a bit more to do with it. I’ve been thinking about begging internet people to send me photos of the cities they live in, particular warm ones near the ocean, preferably with shipyards or docks.

It’s amazing how I can be both productive and completely unproductive, but there you have it. I can’t just work on one thing. On the bright side, I have yet to abandon any of these projects; I just flit between them like a squirrel ahead of oncoming traffic.

Prewriting never ends.

Having taken a long break from writing, it is interesting how my perspective has shifted, now that I return to it. Specifically, I return to Molly Worthington with clarity–and with clarity I can see the lack thereof, which went into my initial planning of it. I realize now that it is irrevocably YA. Whether my characters are young or old, whether their moral compasses point entirely north, they are colorful and eager in a way that only YA currently allows. This is a challenge, because my previous lack of focus is not at all in line with the succinct, tightly plotted and precisely characterized nature of YA as a genre. Ah, well.

While on break at work one day, I began to re-outline the whole project, with notes in the margins about what I need to focus on, or change. I outline in five parts, like five acts, shamelessly stolen from the structure of every Shakespearean play I’ve ever read. On the bright side, I’m nearly finished the first act, which is comprised entirely of getting out of port–a challenge if I’ve ever seen one, with this story. Once I finish the first part properly, I may go back and make some initial changes, just to get the tone right so that I can have a good foundation upon which to build the rest of the story. Basically, I need to cut the fat and add more of the title character, or Aaron’s impression of her, anyway. She is far too secondary for a character as central and attention grabbing as she is supposed to be. Sebastian is just so distracting and fun to write that he kind of steals every scene he’s in, and a few he’s not in.

Also, I am realizing quickly, as I struggle to piece together the whole scope of the rising action (the monstrous and lengthy odyssey that is Act II) that this story is by its nature a serial one. Here I have characters perfectly poised to return and go on other adventures, side quests… and a home whose government is poised to shift in ways very essential to the well being and priorities of those characters. And the background to the conflict I have set up in this one cannot here be resolved. It’s startling, to say the least, how this has grown and spawned offspring without my consent. Ah, well. I will write too much, as I always do, and hack out the unnecessary and stifling undergrowth with the machete that is my red pen.

In other news, yesterday, it was 80 degrees. In PA, in March. We’re supposed to be having blizzards. I am supposed to despair of ever seeing the sun again, let alone growing things and Rita’s Water Ice. I am ever convinced that the Mayans were right. It is the end of the world. I think I am the only one in the northeast entirely uncomfortable with this massive and frightening shift in weather patterns. So naturally, I ignored it by going to the movies. My family and I saw The Hunger Games, and it was just as brilliant as we had hoped it would be. Jennifer Lawrence was brilliant, and they couldn’t have cast Cinna better, or Seneca Crane. Though, I can’t decide if hearing “Allt Varð Hljótt” by the ever brilliant Ólafur Arnalds during the hallucination scene would have been more distracting, or less, if I hadn’t known it was coming.

work in progress: caedon’s ghost bar

This is from something I’m working on now. It’s sort of a ‘shared universe’ for a bunch of standalone ghost/supernatural themed stories, with a bunch of characters who are unrealistically interconnected with one another.

I really wanted to illustrate this with an atmospheric black and white photo of a smoky neighborhood bar gone to seed. Do you know how hard that is to find!? Seriously, a billion hipsters in the world and I can’t find the most hipster photograph ever. That should be up there with decaying buildings and abandoned doors on litter-strewn city blocks and people in chucks.

He woke up to harsh light and cold air. Someone had left the fan on, or maybe he did. He was in boxers, and had kicked most of the blankets to the ground. It took a moment or two, but after sitting still and blinking away the last tendrils of sleep, he was shockingly and uncharacteristically awake. He scratched at his scalp idly; his hair was standing everywhere and in desperate need of shampoo, but it was too early to even think about doing.

He snatched some sweatpants off the floor, and a tee shirt, and stumbled out of his room and downstairs. Allison was at the table, dressed in old jeans and a big wool cardigan that had probably belonged to their father. She had a big mug in front of her, and was splashing a saturated Lipton teabag in and out of the cup. She looked up when he entered. “God, finally,” she said.

“What? It’s early. I didn’t even sleep in today.”

She rolled her eyes. “New girlfriend? Whatever, I don’t wanna know. The guys called like, six times.”

There was at least a mug and a half left of coffee in the pot. Caedon claimed it and then grabbed a banana off the counter and sat down at the table with her. He took a big bite of it, and then talked around it. “Where’s mom and dad?”

Allie rolled her eyes again, making a face, and looked away. “Um, at work, duh.”

Caedon had been halfway into a sip of coffee. He frowned into the mug and then pulled away from it. “On a Sunday?”

Allison’s eyes narrowed. “On a Tuesday. Where were you?”

“Playing a gig. You’re fucking with me.”

“Without your band?” Allie pressed, disbelief heavy and cold. She pulled out the teabag and chucked it across the kitchen. It missed the trash can by a foot and landed on the counter with a dull ‘splat.’

“It was just covers in a shitty bar. And if it’s Tuesday, why are you at home?”

“It’s a snow day. What kind of secret gig lasts two days?” She took a long, deliberate sip of tea. “Must have been some bender.”

Caedon snorted, and cupped his mug in two cold hands. Over his shoulder, out the window, fat, brilliantly white snowflakes were falling. “Yeah, must have been.”

This is just to say I’m still alive.

It’s been more than a month. I don’t have a picture, and I don’t have much to say.

For the entire month of February, writing-wise, I got absolutely nothing done. This was semi-intentional. I sort of fell into it, realized it, and then decided to take the month off entirely. I had reached a point where I had been thinking about ‘Molly Worthington’ 24/7 for about four months. It was all I talked about, all I thought about. Heck, I dreamed about it. I needed to get away. I was so close that I couldn’t even see it clearly, let alone make actual decisions or maintain my focus. It was a break I desperately needed. Melissa said, “sometimes you just need a break from the written word,” and it felt true, though I don’t know if anyone who writes seriously would ever abandon it entirely for that long.

I’m sort of back, though trying to find my rhythm has been difficult. Writing on the computer hasn’t worked. I’ve pretty much been doing three page chicken scratch sprints during break at my current assignment, just to get back into the right head space. I don’t know when I became a longhand writer, but you wouldn’t believe it even if you see it. I have this ongoing battle with personal shame when it comes to writing. I have written about it before, about how I want to be a Real Writer and can never decide if just doing it is enough to call myself one, or if getting published, or just finishing something at all, or if it’s not something you decide on your own at all. An extension of this is that I won’t let anyone read any of my original work if I’m not finished with it. As a result, you’d think that my notebook was written by a blind three year old who had vaguely heard about what Arabic looked like. All that matters is that I know what it says, and if it’s nearly illegible, people can’t read over my shoulder or pick it up and get anything out of it.

One positive development my hiatus gave me: confidence in my works in progress, abysmal as they currently are. In years past, a whole month of not looking at it would have driven the spirit of it right out of me, and for the first time, I still love them. I still love the crew of the Adventure, and my teenage runaways in The Asphalt Messiah, and I still want to finish them. I’ve been letting myself over-write and do it horribly and gracelessly, but the fact that I still want it gives me hope that when all is said and done, the final drafts might not be.

I have no business publishing as I am now, and I’ve made my peace with that, but what is new and different and exciting is how sure I am that I want eventually to share it, to help others love them as much as I do.

Anyway, the only other thing of note happened this weekend. My friend came to visit for the first time in ages. We saw The Black Keys and The Arctic Monkeys from absurdly close up. We ate way too much food, got too little sleep, walked more than I have in possibly my whole life, and explored Old City and Reading Terminal with friends that were new and old to each of us. Now I can look forward to another weekend of The Hunger Games and Indian food and long, quiet drives.

“…morning shows the day.” – John Milton

I am a relatively unproductive person. This is a sad and mostly self perpetuating fact of my life and habits. It’s not quite what I want out of my life, but at the very least, I am the kind of person who is more or less aware of her faults and to some degree tries to overcome them. I do believe that life is a constant process of self improvement, of enforced change and thoughtfulness, and that without that, a person will generally stagnate and become miserable. Unfortunately, one of the aforementioned flaws also happens to be a decided lack of self discipline, so I’m good at compiling lists and outlines of how I’m going to tackle a given issue, but not so good at following through with those plans without outside encouragement or commitment to another person.

I have this ridiculous picture in my head of the kinds of people I admire in a personal way, and by that I mean the people I’d most like to become. It’s like… When I was a kid, I was in girl scouts, and so was my sister, and my brother was in cub scouts/boy scouts, and as a result, quite a few of our family vacations involved camping trips. This was never something that pleased my mother, but I always really liked it. We had a two room tent that fit all six of us, three duffel bags and three air mattresses (this was my mother’s concession: she’d go camping, but she would not sleep on the ground). I have always been a decided night person. In a smallish house with one computer on dial-up and five other immediate family members, it was more a survival tactic than any particular ingrained habit. I wanted to read and write, and I couldn’t do it with my family watching television and harassing me and generally making a ruckus. So I’d wait them out, and then stay up until I could see the first hints of light peeking through the trunks of the trees in my backyard, and then would sneak upstairs to sleep for a few hours before getting caught. Anyway, when we went camping, with the way the world wakes up, the sun and the moisture in the air and the cracks of broken leaves and twigs under feet, it was really, really easy to get up early, before everyone else. I could wake while the sun was still red and orange, and shower and dress and walk, and get back in time for breakfast and campfire coffee. And I guess I sort of miss that.

The thing is, early morning is one of my favorite times of day. I love the way the air feels, not oppressive, but half asleep, sticky, but electric. I love the way it smells, and I love that it’s not silent at all, but that the drone of human activity has for the most part ceased. But due to long ingrained circadian rhythms, I only ever get to see it when I stay awake all night. And that’s a problem.

This is what I mean about how I imagine the people I admire. I want mornings. I want to wake up at five a.m. and do yoga while the house is silent, and then make coffee and breakfast and spend an hour or two writing before work. I want to be the person who is up and active before everyone else, well rested and happy. For years I tricked myself into not wanting this, saying, “night time is when everything happens! If you become a morning person, you’ll never see your friends. You’ll be boring.” Honey, you never see your friends anyway. You don’t have a social life to leave behind.

In other words, I have no reason not to do this.

So, here’s my action plan:

  • leave your alarm clock set for 6am every day, not just the days I actually have work
  • stop using the snooze button. Literally get out of bed when the alarm sounds, before you have time to think about it.
  • do at least one salute to the sun every morning, while coffee is brewing
  • stop drinking coffee in the afternoon (you can keep green and white tea, on miserable days). Also, drink more water!
  • stop using the computer when you can’t sleep, and instead write by hand, or read. Also, turn the monitor brightness down.
  • make going to the gym in the evenings, before dinner, a priority. (I read that 5pm to 7pm is the ideal time to exercise, to help you sleep better)

Anyway, the idea here is to change my sleep cycle without any outside help such as melatonin supplements. I like to try and do things without medication whenever possible, and I don’t really want my sleeping habits to become dependent upon a supplement.

Has anyone else ever tried to change their night owl ways? Were you successful?

More importantly, does anyone else out there want to join me? I could really use some early morning company. We could cheer one another on as we embrace the day!

does two people make this a writing meme!? MAYBE.

my actual notebooks are not this pretty.

So I’m blatantly stealing this post format from Melissa Dominic, who did this first and better, but I’m a copycat, and maybe making a list will make things official, which will force me to get things done.

Because, starting today is a little something I call Shannon, Finish Your Damn Short Stories Already, otherwise known as Shannon Has Too Many Works In Progress, otherwise known as Seriously, Just Finish The First Draft. This project was partially inspired by my hard drive and the countless 500 word fragments therein, and also partially inspired by the fact that I am ALREADY behind on Get Your Words Out. Even counting all the things I haven’t bothered to type up from my notebook. Bah!

Anyway, these are short already in progress that I need to finish, complete with the working titles I actually use:

  • The Not-A-Ghost Story: this one is about high school sweetheart lesbians, and an apartment that is haunted by a specter made of someone’s guilt, in the shape of a person still living. I like the idea of this, but I’m struggling with the momentum and the direction. A lot of this story comes down to trust, but I don’t know if a successful story can be told on an entirely downward slope.
  • Death (Is A Teenage Girl): Death comes for the protagonist in the form of a diminutive and somewhat cruel teenager, who would rather play cell phone games than clue the protagonist in on how and why she’s supposed to die.
  • The Revolutionary War Ghost/Teenager Thing: The one where the disoriented ghost of a Revolutionary War soldier suddenly appears in the bedroom of a high school girl. They proceed to bond over boy trouble and teenage girl drama. Some things transcend the ages.(I pretty much stole it directly from this music video.)

And the following are a selection of stories I haven’t actually written yet, but are just ideas sitting on my desktop in little barely-articulate notepad files:

  • Wild spirits with animal faces invite unsuspecting humans to their forest tea parties, only once you’re there you can never leave, and eventually you have an animal face of your own! Basically, the story would involve someone’s grand escape.
  • sometimes known as The Insomniac Story. Someone is putting the stars out of the sky, one by one, which prevents people from being able to dream. The main character(s) set out to put things right.
  • a little girl meets real faeries in her backyard, and together, they save the forest from a cloud of sadness. Basically I just want to write a faerie tale, shut up, I know.

And my two novel WIPs:

  • The Asphalt Messiah: I’ve already gone on and on about this one, but it’s basically about teenage runaways and cannibalistic faerie street gangs. I swear it’s better than it sounds. OR IS IT.
  • The Great Molly Worthington And The Good Ship Adventure: If you don’t know what this one is about, you have not been paying attention, because I never shut up about it.

And that’s not even counting the abandoned ideas I still might go back to and resurrect, like the Friedrich story I can’t seem to get right, or some of the novel ideas I don’t even have time to consider beginning to develop, or my secret burning desire to script a graphic novel… I have lots of ideas, but first I need to actually FINISH something.

Get Your Words Out! 2012

I swear, this notebook is what gets me through the day.

So, in the face of having crashed and burned post-nanowrimo (okay, I’m being dramatic. But I really liked being productive, ok, and 200-400 words at a time is just not cutting it) I signed up for Get Your Words Out. Basically, it’s a year-long self-motivated writing contest for people like me who, as of two months ago, can no longer function without an imposed deadline to motivate them.

The big differences between nanowrimo and this project are that…

  • it’s a year long
  • you pledge your own word count goal
  • you can work on a variety of projects

It’s a bit intimidating, since I pledged for 250k (the “modest” range). Admittedly, 250k over the course of a year is a thousand words a day with two days off, which is more than reasonable. Not to mention my intention of joining NaNoWriMo in November depending upon my progress on my two existing WIPs… I’m hoping that GYWO does more than force me to write; I’m hoping it helps me create better habits in general. NaNoWriMo already helped a lot on that front; no, more often than not, I WANT to be writing or am at least thinking about my projects on some level, even if I’m not good at setting aside regular time every day and expecting a certain amount out of myself.

Another really interesting thing I have noticed between nano and GYWO: I am becoming more of a handwritten writer. I have taken to carrying a notebook with me to work and when I go out so that I can get in a hundred words here and there, especially on days I know I won’t get a ton of time when I get home. I never used to be good at writing by hand; I used to feel that it slowed me down. Now I just let my handwriting degenerate into illegibility (see above) figuring that at least I could figure out what I had meant by it, and am forced to put a bit more thought into what I’m writing. Also, it just feels right. (OKAY, OKAY, notebooks don’t have twitter, and tumblr, and livejournal, and wordpress, and IM, and…)

So, that’s where I am, writing-wise. Still not finished anything, but active and with promise, even if that promise is of a draft of total crap. As John Green said in one of his videos, it’s impossible to write a good novel in a first draft anyway, and that novels are written in the revision. All I have to do is GET to the revisions.

the obligatory new years resolution post

First resolution: do more of this.

I have been putting off doing this post all week. Why? I don’t know. Laziness, mostly. I’m at a new assignment at work; one that is dreadfully boring and too far away. I pray for it to end, except that an end means a week or so without a paycheck, and that is something I can’t afford, especially now. I’m in the post-holiday recovery phase, where I remember suddenly and in an onset of panic that I have bills to pay and no money to pay them with. Basically, I’m flat broke. Yay, Christmas!

This year has been an altogether peculiar one for me. I capped the year off by giving my brother his first real pit experience. We drove up to croc rock in Allentown, PA to see Taking Back Sunday, and god was it something I needed. There’s little that is more cathartic than a good pit and drowning in sound and energy. Hopefully he got as much out of it as I did; I opted this year for the experiential gift for him rather than a material one. I wish that the way you ended a year necessarily reflected the way you spent it. But I also I spent a year living at home, more or less unemployed (does temping count as employment? I’d like to think no), getting worse at writing and better at being okay with it, and generally socializing with my computer screen and my parents and otherwise being a total recluse. All in all, I accomplished a lot of nothing.

I talked with Melissa Dominic about the general state of my life, and we laid it out as such. This year, I need:

  • financial stability
  • to assert my independence
  • friends

Oh, was that all? Have any of you ever made a formal list of Changes You Need To Make and had it turn out to be a list of essential facets of life? Have I failed entirely? I’d like to think not. Unfortunately, nearly all of these are dependent upon one another. I can’t be independent unless I have the money to do so, and I can’t go out and meet people if I don’t have the money to go out, and I can’t move out unless I have money, and if I don’t move out, will I ever make friends? It goes on and on.

Anyway, the silly truth is that I know these things matter, and I do need them desperately, but not having them for an extended period of time has put me into a cottony state of lethargy and cynical apathy so that I am having a lot of trouble wanting it. The things I want are more immediate, and more distant. I want to write. More than ever before, I want to write and be good enough to justify that want. I want to show people finished products and be proud of it. But my two novels in progress are nowhere even remotely near finished, and I know I have a long way to go before I’m really good enough to submit or share in any significant capacity. And that’s okay, at least for now. I know I’ll have to do about a hundred drafts anyway, so it’s not like I think my current projects are worthless. As John Green said in one of his videos, “novels are written in the revision.” I just have to get to the end so that I can actually begin editing.

Also, more of this. SO MUCH MORE OF THIS.

The more I think about it, the more this year is going to be about actually doing the things I love, not getting things I need. I say I love to hike, and I DO, but I never get to do it, because nobody ever wants to go with me. So is the solution to go hiking alone? Or to somehow find friends who also want to do so? Where does one find hiking friends? Are we back to my short list of Things I Need, which I had very nearly resolved to forget about? Damn it.

Anyway, the aforementioned is wrapped up in my desire to be a generally healthier, more fit person who Does Things Outside. I have sort of been working on this by signing up for the mud run and going to the gym regularly, hoping that by spring I’ll be good enough to run outside without falling over and dying. My sister wants me to do the Philadelphia Distance Run with her. I hope I can do it, but it’s a half marathon and at this point just finishing a 5k would be an accomplishment.

I look back over this post, and it reads like a summary of my failures. But I can’t quite see it like that. I don’t have a real job, or friends within 50 miles who actually want to go to the effort of seeing me, or my own place, or a degree, but I don’t feel like I have just cashed it in this year, like I should feel. I am in marginally better shape. I saw a lot of great music. I finished nanowrimo. I write every day, even if it’s crap! I know it’s crap, and instead of feeling shame for it, I have fun doing it. I have successfully embraced being a bad writer in the hopes that it will lead to eventually being a good one. I may not have accomplished anything in any measurable way, but I did things that matter to me. And I guess, in the end–which this is–that’s all that matters.