Breaking through the silence

Recently, I was at a good-bye party for an MFA friend who is off to join a Ph.D. program (I'm somehow both envious and relieved that it's not me). This meant, of course, other MFA friends were in attendance. During the course of the evening, one of them who graduated a year after me (in 2014) asked me how much writing I was doing.

Now, this particular friend is a stay-at-home dad with a toddler. He has every excuse not to be writing. He's also active in the live storytelling scene and has an active blog so, to be honest, I wasn't sure what he was so worried about.

But I understood the anxiety behind his question because I feel it too. And really, I didn't feel like I had something very encouraging to say because I haven't been writing much (except here when I can and those poems that are somehow coming out... and also I'm trying to get into travel writing... and also, the Maryland Romance Writers kicked my butt on that 'I don't


The magic formula for balancing work, writing, and family

I did not expect to feel so at home in the Maryland Romance Writers tent at the Baltimore Book Festival, but they seemed to be the best place to go for nuts-and-bolts craft/writing life talk. Probably the panel that I found the most practically useful was on Sunday: Balancing Writing, Jobs & Families.

This has been my biggest struggle post-MFA (and my family only consists of two people and two cats!). I attended this panel hoping to get the magic formula for balancing everything. I had pen and paper all ready to capture whatever wisdom came from the Published Authors. Here's what I got:
  1. Find a time.
  2. Find a place.
  3. Find a ritual.
  4. Turn off the Internet.
  5. Don't let the guilt get to you.
At the end of the panel (ignoring #5 for a second), I hadn't really written down anything I didn't already know.

Obviously, getting rid of the Internet -- and all other distractions -- is a huge step in the right direction. We all know how much


Body drama

I'm like most women in that I have body issues. I didn't for a long time. But I got older, so my metabolism slowed down, and then I did two honors theses my senior year of college, so I started sitting all day, and then I went to grad school, so I was poor and ate what I could.

This isn't an unusual story. I'm not an unusual woman. My husband and I have a gym membership, and we try to go regularly. I bring a variety of healthy snacks to work (fruit, veggies), so I don't end up eating (a ton of) candy. I try to make healthy meals that cover most food groups. I avoid soda, choosing water and tea or coffee instead. I still have a sweet tooth, so I don't forgo all sugar, and I get snacky late at night. I'm struggling with what I look like, but I'm learning to try to work with my genetics and my body, make sure I'm being healthy, try to lose any extra weight, and find clothing that flatters my body type.

This was hard to accept until last year when I tried to buy boots for fall.

Of all my body parts, I like my legs the most. I did dance a lot as a kid that really shaped those calves, and they've stayed that


Reading "The Opposite of Loneliness" by Marina Keegan

Back in June, I bought Marina Keegan’s The Opposite of Loneliness. I bought it mostly because I’m jealous of this girl who will always be younger and more successful than me, but jealousy isn’t a good reason to deny her writing a fair chance. So I bought her book and, a couple weeks ago, I read it.

Like I said in a previous blog post, at first, I was looking for a reason beyond talent that explains her posthumous success. It was difficult to put those feelings aside and not let them color my impression of her writing, although it was a bit difficult because the book is introduced as “An affecting and hope-filled posthumous collection of essays and stories from the talented young Yale graduate whose title essay captured the world's attention in 2012 and turned her into an icon for her generation.” A lot of the stories and essays do revolve around finding a deeper meaning in life, growing up, or dealing with death, and I wonder how much of that is truly reflective of her body of work or if those pieces were chosen because of


For the love of poetry

For once, the reason why I've been absent from this blog is because I've actually been putting pen (or, sometimes, pencil) to paper and writing. There are words flowing, sometimes a slow stream, but it is nonetheless steady. So I've been putting this blog off to the side and letting the poems come.

It is, however, a bit amazing to me that poetry is my current medium of choice. Fiction will always be my first love -- the act of creating imaginary characters, settings, and situations is what drew me to writing in the first place. Or perhaps, it's more that storytelling is what drew me to writing, and those stories were often made up, the direct result of childhood playtime. At the moment, however, my imagination seems to be a bit dormant, the muse resting silently. Instead, a small poetic voice has perked up and whispered, "I still have things to say, but I don't have very much to say about them."

Poetry has turned into a way of processing the world, my experiences, my thoughts about things. I don't always have enough