Saturday, December 31, 2011

Courage for 2012

I hope that 2012 gives you courage:

-the courage to fail
-the courage to let go of those who disappoint you
-the courage to remodel and restart projects
-the courage to write
-the courage to keep going
-the courage to give others a chance
-the courage to love and be vulnerable

**2011 was saturated with the highest of highs and lowest of lows (I suppose that's how these bundles of time tend to be). I ended my first novel and some long standing friendships. I felt the uplifting current of true love, of a man who makes me want to be more than I thought I could be. I met giving people who are always willing to help. I traveled to northwest Africa and places in my mind I never thought existed. I formed concrete ideas about what kind of doctor, writer, and humanitarian I hope to be someday. I accepted this transitional, uncertain place I'm often in (it may simply be a part of me).

With each year, we add colors to ourselves, and I hope all of you get the happiness and success you deserve in 2012!


Thursday, December 29, 2011


In light of everyone sharing their resolutions for 2012, I wanted to share some quotes I found on pinterest (if you click on them, they'll be easier to read).

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

what's on your reading list?

I just finished reading and raving over Alex Cavanaugh's CassaStar (it's delightful!); now it's on to Talli Roland's Build A Man! I'm so lucky to have blogging friends who write novels.

Other items on my current reading list:

-The Four Ms. Bradwells by Meg White Clayton
-Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
-The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

What's on your reading list?

Friday, December 23, 2011

on falling in love

Do you remember the first time you fell in love---with someone, something?

I've done a lot of looking back over this break and realized that I've used that phrase often throughout my life, unaware of how fluid it is.

When I was younger, I was that little girl who always had a book. My parents tried to make me play outside with the other "normal" kids but I found solace in characters. I didn't know it at the time but my lifelong romance with words had already begun. The current remained---throughout my diary entries, position as high school newspaper editor, and swelling book collection---but I didn't realize that it all stemmed from the same love.

When my relationship ended with my first "boyfriend", (I put that in quotes because we had the say-hi-in-between-middle-school-classes kind of relationship), I thought I was in love because of the pain I felt. Now I know that I mistook youthful pangs of failure for love. Truthfully, I mistook a lot of things---jealousy, insecurity, friendship--- for romantic love in the years that followed. It's only since I've been with Samir that I know love; not just the process of climbing into or out of it but swaying with it. Love is something that now augments every facet of my life, something that I fit into, something that makes things easier and despite its irrationality, still makes so much sense.

So I suppose that for some situations, love can be there all along while during others, it can be a destination and journey rolled in one.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

yes, another Audrey post

I've written about my love for Audrey before. The other night, I saw her in the movie Funny Face. In this role, she was bookish, vulnerable, and flawed. My sister and I became lost in the romantic musical and I was reminded of why I'll always love these movies. They are as charming as they are innocent, as whimsical as they are wholesome. I can't think of a movie today that compares to any of the ones from this decade.

As my sister said, "They just don't make 'em like they used to."

Monday, December 19, 2011


Do you ever find yourself oscillating between two extremes? Fear and confidence? Apathy and love?

Last week, thanks to finals, all I could do was live at school, study, and eat unhealthy food. Since I've been home, all I can do is sleep, watch television, and eat unhealthy food.
Perhaps I need these days of "nothing" to recover from my days saturated with "somethings." I think I make the mistake of piling too much on my plate and then allowing it all to drown me.

I'm realizing it boils down to one flaw: I suck at doing nothing. It's an art form that I need to cultivate. When I'm in front of the television, I feel like I should be writing. When I'm perusing blogs, I feel like I should be studying. There's always something.

Stress, like beauty, might be in the eye of the beholder. Learning how to say no, not caring as much about what other people are going to say, and devoting myself to causes I believe in can all help me live in that space between extremes. A space I can make a home in.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Query Letter Tips

1. Don't start with a generic question, like "What would you do if everything you believed in disappeared?"

2. Research the agencies before hand. Most of them have websites and will specifically list what they are and are not looking for. It also helps to include how you found them and what other books of theirs caught your interest.

3. Work on making a good hook (or intro sentence). Get a fresh set of eyes to look over it. Work on it again. That first sentence is often the most difficult.

4. Study jacket flaps of novels you enjoy to see how they hooked you in a few hundred words or less. Using specific descriptions helps. For example, I initially described my protagonists's life as "strict" and "planned". When I took that out and instead mentioned her "compulsive list making", it made for a tighter sentence.

5. Don't include secondary characters and plotlines! Only your protagonist should be saving the day.

6. Include the word count and specific genre.

P.S. I'll be resuming regular writing and non-writing posts tomorrow! Sorry I was absent the past week. Finals and other projects kept me caffeinated and cranky.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

If I Knew Then What I Know Now Part 3....

Today, I'm a quarter century old. So, since I can officially say that I am at the right age for a quarter life crisis, I thought it'd be fun to reflect and do another "if I knew then" post. Here it goes:

1. Sift through old diary entries. Take that scared girl who writes them and push her away from herself, so she can become who she needs to be.

2. When striking up a conversation, ask more about the person and speak less about yourself. Everyone appreciates it when someone takes interest in them.

3. The things that your mother pushes you for might have more to do with her than you. They're always in your best interest.

4. Stop comparing any part of your life to anyone else's. We really are on different paths and that's the whole point.

5. It's great to do well in school but don't let it define you. Be careful about the actions that define you.

6. Don't stay in a relationship because it's good enough. Sometimes there's nothing more lonely than good enough.

7. Make tiny changes for a big difference. Wake up a few minutes earlier. Eat whole grains. Walk.

8. Your emotions, the very things that will allow you to connect with others, may often become hindrances if you aren't careful. Remember that it won't help you to be too sensitive.

9. Everyone has the right to their own opinion. Everyone is allowed to love or hate you.

10. Don't give up because things don't work out. You'll spend years studying to be a doctor so why would becoming a writer be any different? There's always space for improvement and sometimes, rejections are there to tell you that.

P.S. Talli Roland's novel, Build A Man, is launching today! Congrats, Talli! I'm so excited to read and review :)


Picture from here

As much as I admire the elegance and pearl-wearing grace of Audrey and Jackie O, I also have a soft spot for women like Cleopatra. The kind who may sometimes be a bit too much, who have confidence evaporating from their pores, and are bold enough to be disliked. The kind who reshape the world with their disposition.