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Small Goals | August 2017

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Small Goals

Long time no see! I’ve been taking a lot of time for myself over the past few weeks, focusing on the things I want to do (mostly reading, exercising, and cleaning the house) and trying to avoid pressuring myself to do too much of anything else. I dropped off on my bookstagram, too, for a while, even though I’ve been doing a ton of reading. I just needed some me time. To be honest, I’m still not going to be posting as often as I was before, but it’s nice to be finding the right balance for myself now.

Continue to send out writing submissions. Only one, but that’s something! Plus, it was accepted, so it’s definitely a win for July.

Get caught up on 100 Horror Films. Yeah, not quite. I’m still about twenty movies behind, which I don’t think is going to take me long to reach, so I’m not quite freaking out–yet. But I do need to get cracking.

Clean my office. LOL. This did not happen, but I’m actually on planning on doing it today. It’s even on my to do list in my planner!Send out two more submissions. One last month was good, but since I’ve got a few things in the work this month (a couple more poems, mostly), I’d like to get them ready start sending out, because the more I put out there, the more chances to get accepted!

Read seven books. I actually achieved this in July, without even trying, and I’d like to keep the momentum going. I think requesting so many from the library has been helping to keep me engaged and excited to read.

Finish my horror short story. It’s this kind of ethereal yet macabre piece inspired by the Marilyn Monroe biography I’ve been reading and all of the horror films I’ve been watching. I’m feeling so enthusiastic and excited about it, so I think if nothing else, I’ll definitely achieve this one.

What are you aiming for in August?

August 8, 2017
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Small Goals | July 2017

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Small Goals

Sometimes I wonder why I bother doing these posts if halfway through the month my goals are going to be different from what they were at the beginning of the month. It’s a lot like my tbr lists, actually. I make them, and then just kind of shrug and say, “Screw it,” if I decide something more interesting or important has come along.

Finish writing and revising Whatsername #4. Okay, if I’m being honest, I still have a few pages to fill with content in this issue, but considering I not only wrote and revised but also laid them out what I have so far, I think this counts as a success. I should even have the issue finished and ready to list on Etsy before July is through.

Write for at least fifteen minutes every day. Maybe? I stopped filling out my habit tracker partway through the month. (Full disclosure: I just got lazy. It happens.) I can’t quite call this a win or loss, but I feel happy with what I did produce in June, and that’s what really matters.

Read five books. Technically, I only read four and started a fifth. So I’m going to call it a win, even if only one book was from my original tbr for the month.

Continue to send out writing submissions. I actually sent out two submissions in June, even without it being a “small goal,” and I’d like to keep doing so. It feels good to try putting my work out there in a different avenue than my usual choices (i.e, doing it all myself).

Get caught up on 100 Horror Films. I’m not uncomfortably behind, but I’d still like to get caught up so I don’t have to worry about falling even farther behind before the last third of the project comes along.

Clean my office. My office at home hasn’t been a particularly enticing place to work lately, and I’d like to go through everything in it, get rid of anything I don’t need/want, and reorganize what I can. It’s just kind of a hot mess right now, and I want to be excited to work in it again.

What are you aiming for in July?

July 3, 2017
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Madame Sherri Forest & Castle, Chesterfield, New Hampshire

Posted in Horror, Personal, Pop Culture by
Madame Sherri Forest Trail Sign

This past Saturday, Dan and I took our fourth hike of the year so far, which is already notable just in the fact that it’s more than I think I’ve ever done in any year past. I’m well on my way to my goal of seven hikes, and I’ll probably surpass it.

This time around, we went to the Madame Sherri Forest in Chesterfield, NH. It’s one of our first hikes out of the Haunted Hikes of New Hampshire book that we have, and it was my favorite hike overall so far, not only for the “haunted” aspects but also the area itself.

Madame Sherri Forest, Chesterfield, NH

Staircase arches at Madame Sherri Forest

The forest houses the ruins of Madame Antoinette Sherri’s “castle,” a grand, fifteen-room house that she’d had built to house parties over the summertime. As she grew older, though, she no longer be able to host the parties and instead took up residence in a Vermont nursing home. The castle went into disrepair before burning down in 1962, presumably due to arson. The site is allegedly haunted because, well, what’s a ruinous site in the forest without a few ghosts to go along with it? It’s said that you might spot Madame Sherri at the top of the staircase, and if you take a listen, you can hear phantom laughter and music.

We didn’t hear anything, but it was a beautiful place to start our walk nonetheless. The ruins are on a little side path before you get to the actual trail, and there’s honestly not a whole lot there: a staircase with archways and a fireplace at the top. I was kicking myself when we left the house, though, because I forgot to pack the digital recorder that Dan got me for our anniversary a few years ago; even though we didn’t hear anything ourselves, who knows what the recorder might have picked up? So on top of going back just to hike another one of the trails, I want to go back just to do a little more investigating at the ruins.

Fireplace at Madame Sherri Forest

Staircase archway at Madame Sherri Forest

After our stop at the ruins, we headed out to the trail. There are a few different options–the Ann Stokes Loop, Daniels Mtn. trail, and Mt. Wantastiquet trail–and we went with the Ann Stokes Loop for our first trip. This took us up the mountain, with another trail that we stopped on, this time at Indian Pond, on the way up. All of the views along the trail were great, from the tree canopy, to the pond, to the view from the top. Most of my photos didn’t do them justice, but I love what I did get.

Indian Pond, Madame Sherri Forest

Ann Stokes Loop, Madame Sherri Forest

This was a moderate trail, which means I spent a fair amount of time grumbling and yelling, “Oh my god!” every time we were going uphill, which was often. As with all of our hikes like this, though, it was worth the trouble. I felt incredibly proud of myself after, and everything we saw was breathtaking. From just the trails signs to the view of Chesterfield from the ledges above to the plant life, the whole experience was beautiful and invigorating.

As I’ve said, this is the most hikes I’ve ever done in a year for the simple fact that I’ve never really been a “hiker.” While Dan’s gone on a couple of overnights, I just haven’t been that serious about it (or any kind of exercise to be honest), but something about this year made me want to start trying more, and I’ve been enjoying each trip so much so far. I’m looking forward to see what others we end up doing, haunted or not (although the more haunted the better in my opinion).

small white flowers

mushrooms

June 12, 2017
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Small Goals | June 2017

Posted in Personal, Writer Life by
Small Goals

I did my first monthly/small goals post in a while last month, and I really enjoyed having a focus for May, especially only a few small ones. I didn’t feel too overwhelmed, and even though I–spoiler–didn’t fully accomplish any of them, I do feel like I accomplished something on each of  them, so I’m not getting down on myself either. I’m excited to go over last month’s goals, see what I can continue versus what I want to change or set aside for a while and share a couple of goals for June as well.

Send out three writing submissions.  I sent out one. However, I did make a list of places to submit, and I’m currently revising a piece to send out in the next week or so. Sometimes you just don’t have the right thing to share, either because the publication has a certain theme or you just haven’t found the right place for what you have. But I’m excited to be taking steps, even if they’re slow baby steps for now.

Finish my Daria zine.  I’ve got all of the text laid out in InDesign and ready to print, but I started second guessing whether or not I want to finish this project the way I’ve set it up so far. I’m not feeling enthusiastic about the pieces I’ve written, and part of me would like to open it up to submissions for a bigger comp zine. I’m nervous to do it, though, because the last few times I’ve tried, I haven’t gotten nearly enough submissions. So I think this is going to sit around on my laptop for a while until I decide where to take it.

Write another 3,000 words on my novel.  Close! I got through 2,000 words, which is more than I’ve done since about February, so I can’t fault myself for it. The first thousand flew by, which was of course exciting and encouraging, but then as I moved onto the next thousand, boy, was that a slog. But I managed that much at least, so at least I’m that much further along with the book.

Finish writing and revising Whatsername #4. I’m thrilled to work on this issue of my perzine because it’s all about my relationship with horror and being a weirdo goth/emo/punk kid in school. I started working on this before I’d even finished issue three simply because I’ve been getting so deep into horror again, and it’s brought back a lot of nostalgia for me over the past couple of months. I’ve got a rough outline, and I’m having such a blast writing each piece, so I think this one is definitely achievable for me.

Write for at least fifteen minutes every day. I have a little row of habit tracker boxes specifically for this, and it’s kind of a dream for me to fill out every one of them for June. I’m going to count all kinds of things, too: blog posts, journaling, poetry, novel work, whatever–just maybe not my grocery list. I’ve never had a good habit for my writing, at least not a lasting one, and I’d like to start making it a more regular part of my day. I’m hoping to go back over the bit on writing in Lauren Graham’s book because that made such a difference for me when I first read it that I think it’ll be helpful to take another look.

Read five books. I’ve been a very slow reader this year. By this time last year I’d read about twice as many books as I have now, and while it’s not a contest, I do love to read. I just haven’t been making it a priority, instead letting myself get sucked into way too many shows on Netflix or listening to podcasts and coloring (which is fine and relaxing, but maybe something I need to take a break on, especially now that I’m caught up on my favorites). It’s just unusual for me not to read more than I have been, so I’d like to get back to my usual self. My tbr right now only has three books for the month, but I’m sure I can find more once I finish those.

I really wanted to include something that wasn’t “write…”, but I guess the best I could do was a reading goal instead. What can I say? I’m a lover of the written word.

What are some of your June goals, big or small?

June 5, 2017
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Cursive Letters Into Knives: About My Newest Tattoo

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When I was thirteen, I fell in love with my two favorite bands, one right after the other. I listened to Green Day’s American Idiot on my Discman every morning and afternoon, to and from school, and I was quickly sucked into the mystery of who was singing the opening to “Letterbomb.” Digging through the liner notes, I found Kathleen Hanna’s name credited and did what googling I could from there. YouTube didn’t exist yet. Wikipedia was still so young. The best thing I came up with was a thirty-second clip of “Rebel Girl” on the VH1 website. So I took a few notes, and on my next trip to FYE, I picked up a copy of Pussywhipped.

I listened to it in the car on the way home, the sounds harsh and unpolished in my headphones, and it might not have been instant love, but it was definitely second-listening love.

A month ago, just over twelve years later, I got my second Bikini Kill tattoo (the first being the turntable off of the New Radio album). Dan and I were driving home Brattleboro on a Saturday afternoon, windows down, Green Day’s Revolution Radio loud in the few speakers my car has, and it felt like it was finally time for this one. It’s an idea I’d had for probably ten years, but in the last few I’ve just never had the money for it, so I kept putting it off and getting smaller black and grey pieces instead. But this time the money was in savings, and I couldn’t in my heart wait any longer.

A switchblade tattoo with the words "We are turning cursive letters into knives" wrapped around it

I’ve listened to every Bikini Kill album countless times since I first discovered them. Various songs have cycled through my life as something of an anthem at that moment when I needed it, but the one I always come back to–besides the undeniable “Rebel Girl”–is “Bloody Ice Cream,” from the album Reject All American. It’s always appealed to my writer sensibilities, and its impact has grown all the more noticeable over the years.

The song is short, half a dozen lines or so long, but it’s always been influential to me.

The Sylvia Plath story is told to girls who write
They want us to think that to be a girl poet means you have to die
Who is it that told me all the girls who write must suicide?
I’ve another good one for you
We are turning cursive letters into knives

It’s brief, but it’s full of bite and meaning to me. The phenomenon of women writers committing suicide (Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Virginia Woolf). The bullshit nature of that overwhelming narrative–these women weren’t just cases of suicide but amazing writers. And the power that we have when we write, using the words to fight and to survive.

That last line has always felt like a big “fuck you” to that fatalist narrative to me, and it’s stuck with me. It’s how I made it to twenty-six and how I’ll make it to twenty-seven, twenty-eight, and beyond. And this tattoo is to remind me of that and how much it matters to me and the impact that women writers–tragic or not–have had on my life and the world.

May 22, 2017
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5 Disney Confessions

Posted in Personal, Pop Culture by
Disney Confessions

A few weeks ago, Eleanor (of eleaanormay.com) shared a post of her Disney confessions, and since I’ve been diving back into Disney with my tsum tsums collection and growing set of movies, I thought it would be fun to share my own “confessions” post.

  1. For a long time (as in, years), I actually hated the idea of the Disney parks. And any large theme parks really. Even if they revolved around a theme that I was interested in, I couldn’t get over the massive crowds, the incredible expense, and the fact that the largest ones are all in places way too warm for me to enjoy my existence. As of the past few months, though, I’ve been coming around to the idea, and it’s culminated in the very beginning of planning out a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter with Dan and my mom–even if I still don’t want to go to Florida. (So hot!!)
  2. Besides films, tsum tsums are my first (and so far only) Disney merchandise. I’m not even really sure if I want to get anything else. I have a tendency to be a big collector, and I feel like I “should” try to reign that in, so in focusing my collections on items and themes I really enjoy, I’m just not sure if I’ll ever get anything else that’s Disney related.
  3. The first film that got me interested in the live action adaptations was Maleficent. And to be honest, I’m always still wary of the live action remakes because they’re aren’t exactly necessary, but in general, I think they can be good things. I’ve loved all the rest I’ve seen since, which so far includes Pete’s Dragon and Beauty & the Beast, so I’m trying to become more hopeful about the rest (especially Mulan).
  4. I love Frozen, but I prefer the sisterhood of Lilo and Nani. I think part of this is because they’re not princesses, and while I like the princess movies, I’ve tended to lean more heavily towards the non-princesses as of late, not that that has any bearing on their actual relationship as sisters. All that being said…
  5. My favorite princesses are Belle and Merida. Belle was always my favorite growing up because she reminded me the most of myself, which is to say, a brunette bookworm. But Brave was one of a number of children’s movies I’ve made Dan see over the years out of sheer excitement, and I’m pretty sure I cried when I saw it, and I still cry every time I watch it. So while Belle holds her place out of nostalgia, I think in some ways Merida is my true favorite.

What would your “Disney confessions” be?

 

May 19, 2017
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Be My Friend: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, if you do not know, is a series about four girls–Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget–all born within days of each other and who as a result are something like built-in friends from the womb onward. The books specifically follow them through four summers, the first summer being their first time all apart, and just before they’re each set to leave on their own trips, they discover the magic of a thrift store pair of jeans that fits them all despite their various shapes and sizes. Obviously, these magic pants are the key to keeping them together even when they’re apart.

This is a book series I’ve been reading since about the time it started coming out in 2001, and despite my tbr plans for April, I ended up rereading them all once again–even the adult sequel, Sisterhood Everlasting. The books have always tapped into a lot of feelings for me, but this reading was different from the usual experiences throughout my teen years.

I’m a person who stays bitter and holds grudges. Maybe it’s the Aries in me or maybe it’s just a stunt in my emotional growth; either way, I’m getting too old to bother denying that anymore. So while, in the moment, many of my past friendships seemed good, they fell apart, and hindsight shows me that they weren’t what I thought at the time. I find it hard to forget that people have left me for other, better friends (or boyfriends) or that they were emotionally manipulative during our so-called friendship. Even though I should know better, even though I do have some good friends now, it still feels like it must have been my fault. It feels like there’s something wrong with me. It feels like I’m not good enough.

So when I read and reread The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, even now, ten years older than the girls were that first summer–and only a few years younger than they are in Sisterhood Everlasting–I find myself wavering between living vicariously through the story of their friendship and being envious of it. As a teenager, it was their fraught relationships with boys that made my heart ache, but now it’s their strong relationships with each other.

The bonds between the girls are so strong throughout the series as to seem almost impossible, but I can’t help believing in them despite my own experiences. I’m reaching a point when I start to think I’ll never have a best friend quite like them–which isn’t to say I don’t love the friends I do have. It’s just that, if I’m honest with all of us, they certainly don’t look like the friendship in the books and they don’t feel strong in the same way. Maybe I’m expecting too much from us, though. Maybe the books are an impossible standard. Maybe I’ll never really know.

The series is contemporary YA, which isn’t necessarily en vogue right now unless a horrific illness is involved, but far be it from me to criticize a series lauding female friendships and showing them in such an authentic, positive light just because it’s not the “it” thing to read. The books are also a little dated with the technology mentioned throughout (the newest was released in 2011 after all), but, at least for me, that doesn’t take away from the enjoyment. I don’t read them to hear about the iPhone models the girls have.

I read these books for the friendship I just never had: theirs.

May 8, 2017
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Small Goals | May 2017

Posted in Personal, Writer Life by
Small Goals

April was a hard month for me. Some reasons are legitimate; some are just excuses.

For May, I needed a way to refocus myself in my work and my goals, and I realized the somewhat obvious solution was that I actually needed to have goals again. Sure, I’ve got my goals for the year, but I need to break them down further to be both mindful of what I want and gentle on myself as I take the steps to get there.

In a fit of inspiration gleaned from the myriad small goals posts out there each month (my favorites being Kay’s, Nicole’s, and Mia’s), I’m writing up my own. Maybe I’ll do them every month, maybe I won’t. But I needed them for May, so here we go.

Send out three writing submissions. / I mentioned this in my April recap, as well, but I wanted to expand on it a little bit. I’m excellent at self publishing my work. I have number of outlets for doing so, but I almost never submit my writing for publication by other people. In fact, I don’t think I’ve had anything published in at least a year. While I don’t need someone else to say, “Yes, this writing is good and we want to publish it for you,” it also doesn’t hurt to offer myself up in the hopes of expanding my audience to people and places that might not find me without that middle person. So in May, I would like to write and send out three submissions–three separate submissions or one submission to three places, either one will count.

Finish my Daria zine. / The ridiculous part about this is that my Daria zine is almost finished already. I just got stuck on it in March, then fell apart in April and lost all motivation to just wrap it up. I’d like to take May to finish the last piece or two to include and wrap up the assembly. It’s been a bummer not having anything to share after such a strong February and March and watching my Etsy sales plummet without adding anything new to my distro. My hope is that this will kick up interest again and help me start getting back on schedule with my zine goals.

Write another 3,000 words on my novel. / I haven’t worked on my novel in months, but it hasn’t been too far from my mind. When you think about something like NaNoWriMo, three thousand words doesn’t seem like much of a goal, but as I was choosing a number, I tried to keep in mind my other goals and obligations for the month and be realistic. I don’t always accomplish realism in my goals, and it’s something I’d like to start working on more to keep myself from feeling too overwhelmed by everything I want to achieve.

And that’s it. I was considering doing five, but as I mentioned, I want to keep it realistic and avoid inundating myself with too much all at once.

What are you hoping to achieve in May?

May 1, 2017
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It’s Friday; I’m in Love #87

It’s been a rough couple of weeks, you guys. Firstly, every time I get a new tattoo, I get very vigilant about taking care of it while it heals–some (Dan) would even say too vigilant, to the point that it hinders just about everything else I try to do. Since my newest is also my largest, it’s taking longer and feeling much itchier than the rest have, and it’s just been such a damper on my mood. I feel like all I can do is read and watch Netflix to avoid rubbing my arm across things too much, and sleeping has been a real struggle. I’ve barely gotten any writing done all month, which feels especially awful. The only bright side is all the reading, but even that’s not enough to make me feel okay.

On top of that, I’ve been having an awful couple of body image weeks, which I also think is related to the tattoo since I haven’t been able to put on (or, rather, take off) a sports bra, so I haven’t been working out. There are a lot of other reasons behind it too, most of which my logical self knows are absurd, but it’s not exactly an on-off switch type of deal. I’ve had snide comments from years ago crossing my mind at the most unexpected times, and I cringe any time I scroll through old photos on my phone.

There have been good parts to this month, but the bummer mood feels like such a shadow over them all.

amazing birthday gifts from friends ♥ one month to Wonder Woman ♥ new tattoos (even if they itch like the devil) ♥ The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants ♥ mac & cheese and the myriad ways you can make it ♥ Snapple on sale ♥ starting a new Goosebumps collection ♥ candles ♥ rewatching Parks & Recreation ♥ getting back into bookstagram ♥ cats. I just love cats ♥ discount DVDs ♥ Disney tsum tsums + JC Penney sales ♥ getting creative with zine packaging ♥ blind bags ♥ bursting with new Etsy/zine ideas ♥ having my hair brushed ♥ a clean house

Three ways to make next month great:

  • Watch an hour less of TV each day. / This is directly related to April, after spending so much of my time the last three weeks of the month watching Netflix. I love TV, but I love doing other stuff too, and I need to remember to take the time to do those other things.
  • Share your work. / I specifically have a goal of sending out three writing submissions this month, whether it’s three separate pieces or simultaneous submissions to three publications. It’s not necessary to share what you do with other people, but it can be nice, so I’d like to start focusing on it more often.
  • Stick to a habit. / I made a habit tracker in my bullet journal for April, and while most things didn’t get filled out every day, I did stick closely to drinking a little over a liter of water each day. I’d like to keep that up (possibly increasing to two liters) and also pick at least one other habit to work on. I’m leaning towards writing, but we’ll see.

“It’s Friday; I’m in Love” is a monthly gratitude post. It aims to remind myself and others of the good things from the past month, big and small; to share ways to make the next month a positive one; and to serve as a record to look back on for the not-so-great days to come. The title comes from the song by The Cure.

April 28, 2017
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Project 365: Days 109-115

I’m such a homebody who hasn’t done much besides read and watch Netflix lately that it’s been a challenge getting photos. (I feel like I say that every week.) I’m dying to go on some kind of an adventure to push myself to take pictures of something other than the same old pieces of home decor, and there are some plans in the works for the next few weeks, but it’s just been a struggle. (Everything kind of has been to be honest, but that’s another post.)

Zines Packed in a Small Purple Envelope with Washi Tape109/365: Some outgoing zine mail. I haven’t been getting many orders lately, which I can only assume is due–at least in part–to the fact that I haven’t been making any new ones. I’ve been working on three, but slowly. But if you’d like a cute little package like this one, order a couple! (Mini zines get purple envelopes like this!)

Tsum Tsum Decorative Tape110/365: A few weeks ago we stopped at Marshall’s and as we walked in the doors there was a small display of Disney tsum tsum goodies, including a large pack of mini decorative tapes, so I picked them up with the few bucks left on a gift card. I haven’t used any yet, though; I’m planning to use them on the next pen pal letter I send out.

Succulents111/365: That poor bunny plant started out in the living room, but as you can see, it wasn’t doing so hot, so I thought I’d move it in with the succulents in my office to see if the added sunlight there will help them out. So far, no luck, but I’m crossing my fingers.

Wonder Woman Funko POPs and Trade Paperbacks112/365: My Wonder Woman love (obsession?) has gotten especially intense lately, though not quite to tsum tsum level. I’ve picked up the newest Funko POP for the movie, that funny little plush ball, and volume three (Iron) of the New 52 run. I’m really enjoying the story, but I wanna try out a few others too at some point.

Plant on a Windowsill113/365: Another plant that wasn’t doing well in its original spot, so I tucked it right onto the windowsill. On the one hand, the idea was perfect because it started getting much stronger, but on the other hand, Charlie started eating it! It’s the only one he’s gnawed on, and I wasn’t even sure until he knocked it down by accident. So now it’s in the living room instead on a higher shelf, but I think it’s getting plenty of sun. We’ll see.

Living Room Organization with Tsum Tsums, Candles, and DVDs114/365: Over the weekend, Dan and I picked up another cube organizer from Target to help us rearrange the living room a bit. For the longest time we were keeping a lot of our video game accessories–controllers and the like–in a neon green milk crate, but it was a big fat mess, so now they’re in two of the gray canvas baskets, including the one in the photo. It also gave me more space for my growing collection of Disney and horror DVDs, so for now nothing is looking too messy over in that corner. (It’s my new favorite corner, in fact.)

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series115/365: I started rereading The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series on Monday, after my post on Amber Tamblyn went up, partly because I couldn’t decide what else to read and partly because it’s been such a long time since I read them. I’ve definitely noticed details I didn’t the last few times I read them–some good, some a little cringe worth–but I still love them just as much as I always have. (Also, I’m pretty sure this is my favorite photo of the week!)

April 26, 2017
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