Back to the Future

We’ve been having to take a lot of career aptitude tests online in Health lately.  The grown-uppy-types are very concerned that our lives have no apparent direction or focus (they are right on this account) and that online aptitude tests where you check boxes and mark bubbles will somehow help direct us and manifest our destiny (woefully wrong).

Apparently I should be a stand-up comedian.  *winks and smiles while the ba-dum-dum of drums and cymbals plays behind*  That or a naturopath, but, you know.  I really can’t see myself ever pestling herbs and prescribing clay masks for ailments.  I don’t doubt its veracity–nature is good, yay nature, I am very pro-nature–it’s just not my cup of herbal tea.

I’ve decided to post about my increasingly nebulous future simply because it’s started to feel all the more nebulous as of late.  I’ve always been told I have years and years to figure out what I want to do with my life, and now suddenly I…don’t.

I’m forced to face the fact that the ONLY THING in this world that I am very, very good at, and that I can see myself doing happily for the rest of my years, is creative writing.  It always has been, and I’m pretty sure it always will be.  And this is kind of a hard lot to draw.  Every day, even during said career aptitude tests and college education classes, I’m bombarded with reminders that careers in the arts are notoriously fickle in regards to financial security.  And, ermghurughmrrm.  As someone who relishes planning and security and self-sufficiency, this doesn’t really sit well with me.  BUT I CAN DO NOTHING ELSE.

And then there’s the whole question of c*llege??

I have never before in my life questioned the fact that I was going to college.  It was handed to me on a platter at birth the same way things like “the world is round” and “you have ten fingers” were.  But…I’ve spent a long time researching the pros vs cons of obtaining an MFA in creative writing.  Most successful authors, even those with such degrees, seem to be of the mind that it’s not really worth the money. And I might be on the same page with them.  (Haha, literary pun, haha.)  For me, at least–I don’t want to sound snobbish–creative writing has always been more about intuition, inspiration, practice, and trial and error than algorithms or plot diagrams or instruction.  Definitely, I think the environment of a college literary program would be inspiring, and it definitely would be helpful to be around other likeminded individuals for feedback and midnight NaNoing sessions (and possibly meeting cute college writer guys, ya never know).  But…maybe it’s actually more helpful to me to read a lot and toodle around on my own?  The problem is I’m also deeply engrained with the stereotype that if you don’t continue onto college, you become a reckless, rampaging teenage delinquent set loose on the world with no direction in life, even though there are plenty of wonderfully intelligent people who never continued to higher education and are still huge forces of awesome in this world.  (One of those links is not like the other.) Also, it may be that if I do not go to college I will hole up in my apartment or whatever and order all my groceries online and never see the sun and never socially interact again because it’s so much easier.

I just…I dunno, guys.  At least I still have a few more years to think on this.

Anyway…it does not do to dwell on dreams, Harry, and forget to live.  What am I doing now to work on my writing?

  • I’ve made it to my school competition of Poetry Out Loud, which is exciting and fun and terrifying.  If I win, which is unlikely, seeing as I’ll be going up against kids four years older than me and vastly more experienced, I think there’s a regional competition, then state, then nationals.  Granted, this isn’t working on my writing at all–it’s actually one of the first times I’ve ever performed a poem not my own–but it’s still working on my stage presence and spoken word skills.  (I also love spoken word.  I would not be disappointed in the slightest if my future career ended up focusing more on performance poetry than other types of writing.)
  • Novelling has been somewhat stalled lately.  Remember Thaw?  I gave that up during the summer to take a new idea out for a spin because I am a NAUGHTY, NAUGHTY GIRL WITH COMMITMENT ISSUES.  Luckily, though, I realized that that new idea was actually way too complicated and it never progressed into novel-shape.  I’m not saying I’ll never do anything with it, but I realized it’s going to take a huge amount of finesse and concentration and dedication to flesh out the idea into something that doesn’t seem too bizarre, and, as I am a lazy sack of caffeine and societal angst, that doesn’t sound too appealing right now.  So I am back to Thaw.  It’s around 60K words at the moment.
  • Writing is gradually getting less dark!  Yay!  Remember when I was having this problem?

tumblr_inline_mthr9h93F81qi7ifk(The last two years of my writing life…)

I’m not sure why this took me so long to realize, but the only way to make things less fiery-destruction-y was not to force it.  My older writings were reflecting my mood at the time, and that’s been getting better this year.  And the dark writings weren’t bad–they were just a different side of me.  It’s good to write multiple moods, since everyone experiences multiple moods.  I still get a kind of twisted pleasure out of writing from the blackest pits of my soul, but I feel the need to do that less often. 😀  I’m slowly mastering the art of whimsy, and I like it just as much.  I’m learning balance.

  • Voice is developing!  Before it tended to be really malleable–as in, I would read Jane Austen and for the next few days I would write like Jane Austen (or a shoddy teenage version of Jane Austen), then I would read a shoddy blog post and would not be able to pull myself from the depths of the shoddy-writing mindset until I read something breathtakingly clean and articulate.  My current mood or mindset would influence the way the words came out a lot. But now, looking back on Thaw, especially, I’m starting to see some voice consistency and development of unique character voices…and I like it.  I’m not so critical of myself now, with some distance between myself and the novel, and I’m liking what I’m writing.  It’s really cool.

If you stuck with me through this entire post, thank you so much!  I had, um, a lot of thoughts.  I hope you all have a FANTASTIC 3-day weekend! In the comments: anyone know any really good quotes regarding THE FUTURE?

Friday Faves #2

Featuring 5k fears and finds, beautiful blog buttons, bolstered body image, link love, and writing-related reads.  Not in this order.

Greetings my dear friends.  I would like to apologize for not posting since last Sunday, but I know you’re cool with it ‘cuz you’re cool like that.  It wasn’t that I had writer’s block, really–it was more that I did have a lot of ideas but, incidentally, there was a lot of stuff I wanted to do a heck of a lot more than sit down to pound out a blog post.  Projects, people…mysterious projects. 😉  Ah, well, you’ll find out about them soon enough.  They’re good ones. 🙂

Anyway, this, at least, means that come September 4th when I forgo my internet-inhabiting ways for the academic lifestyle once again, I will not completely abandon you for a week!  I now have many “backup” post topics saved up to prevent total radio silence here.  So, everyone has won here.  Let us move on.

1.  Beautiful Blog Buttons.  Have y’all noticed my new lovely ORANGE social media buttons in my sidebar?  They were only 99 cents 5 dollars in the Etsy store, made by IGottaCreate, who also offers FREE buttons, though not all in orange. 🙂  Cheap Etsy downloads are quickly becoming a kind of vortex for me…  At any rate, I’ve finally found out how to make social media icon bars, as per my question in my Blogoversary post!  I used this tutorial, designed for WordPress.COM blogs, to integrate the buttons into a widget.  It’s way easier than I was mentally building it up to be.

2.  Bolstered Body Image.  Maybe it’s come across around these parts (because I’ve written about it at length) that, lately, I haven’t been exactly happy with my appearance.  I’ll skip the melodrama.  Then I found some clothes that actually fit me nicely, wrote a post in an attempt to shape myself up, read some even more awesome posts, stripped down to my skivvies in front of a mirror and recited some self-esteem mantras (a la Kiss My Broccoli), started running longer and harder (why is running like the magic self-esteem-boosting drug?  though I’m not complaining), and bought some pretty eyeshadow and liner for my peepers.  I’ve always really loved my eyes–probably my favorite superficial feature, and I’m glad I’ve figured out how to play them up a little bit more now.  No shame in flaunting what ya got! 😉

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I also got a haircut.  Not that this picture makes it very easy to tell.  Also, I’ve coined a term–that above hairstyle?  That’s not “unruly” or “out-of-control”, folks, that’s SPUNKALICIOUS, you hear me?  SPUNKALICIOUS.  Please let’s integrate this into our daily conversations.  As in, “My bangs are being especially SPUNKALICIOUS today”, or “My day was sure hard; I guess life’s just testing me to see how SPUNKALICIOUS I can be about it!”  Yes, SPUNKALICIOUS must ALWAYS be ALL CAPITALS.  Preferably accompanied by a Z-formation fingersnap, if you can manage it.

3.  5k fears and finds.  My second 5k ever is tomorrow!  AHHH/yay!/I’m going to be so dead by the end of this!  Funny thing: since I’ve done this before (once), my brain has seemingly gone into “pro mode” about the whole thing.  As in, why should I worry about preparations?  Stretching beforehand, hydrating sufficiently?  Why even bother, especially when you’re not shooting for a PR?

I really hope I can snap out of this before tomorrow morning; at the very least, I have no doubt it will dissolve into a cloud of fear and crippling self-doubt at the starting line.  But this too must be worked through!

If your arrogant brain hasn’t gone into everything-under-control mode about your next 5k, here are some great reads from around the internet to help you prepare yourself for the race:

4.  Writing-related reads.

  • 10 Things Teens Should Know About Writing.  He comes right out and says teen writing sucks.  I can’t figure out whether I’m awestruck and thankful that someone prevented me from getting my hopes up too high, or feeling crushed…
  • Maureen Johnson’s Brain Monkeys.  Her answer to that eternally-posed question, “Where do you get your ideas?”  And it’s Maureen Johnson.  You’re guaranteed an out-loud laugh.

Also, this and this.

DSCN4119The former, I was lucky enough to snag for free at the magical old library, and the latter I pre-ordered.  (It’s been out for about a month now.)  The former…well, it’s Stephen King!  So witty, hilarious, and wonderfully profane; and since it was an older copy, I didn’t feel guilty about underlining quotes and dogearing pages.  For reference, you know.  😉  It’s just general, down-to-earth writing advice that doesn’t even bother to be tailored to specific ages.  And the latter, obviously, is geared more toward young writers, and it remains optimistic about a writer’s chances while still cautioning you to get a “real job”.  😀

The parents are also very supportive of all my writerly endeavors, but then again, they are parents.  That is Job of Parent.  So…does my writing suck?  Do I have no chance of success?  Or am I an amazing undiscovered gem (Mother Dearest’s viewpoint on the matter)? 😉  I’m getting whiplash darting back and forth…I guess the only thing I can do, in either case, is to keep pounding on.  Work hard, put in effort, always be striving to improve.  Maybe even query anyway, despite my age deficiency.  The worst that can happen is “No”.

No further alliteration for today…Happy Friday! 🙂

***

What’s your favorite thing about your body?  Please divulge all in the comments!  Today, take a moment to appreciate at least one thing that is beautiful about yourself.  Don’t fall prey to the “but that’s so vain” thing.  Strut yo stuff, gurl.  And tell me what it is that makes you beautiful!  (Well, one item from the list, anyway.)

Blogoversary Tips, 4th Installment: DFTBA

So much for a 7-day tips series, huh?  *halfheartedly facepalms* I was cruel and left this series in the dust for three days as I busied myself with other endeavors.  It wasn’t that this isn’t important to me, it was more that…

Camp NaNoWriMo is ending!

Beloved Camp NaNoWriMo is wrapping up!  Guess which girl loftily promised to have her 75,000-word manuscript typed up and completed in all its first-draft glory by tomorrow…and guess which girl’s Scrivener file still only boasts 53,000 words…

Urrgh.  I struggle with daily discipline.  I do think I got a lot of concrete, quality writing done over the course of the month, which is I guess the point of NaNo, but of course it was hard for me to hit that quantity mark.  It did help me to realize that I need to discipline myself more, another plus–I just wish I didn’t have to discover this the hard way.  For the last few days I abandoned blog in favor of typing up a storm, figuring it might be possible to hit a big inspiration spurt and get propelled across the finish line last minute–but no.  That high of a word deficit was only stressing me out, and my writing definitely suffers when I’m stressed instead of having fun.  So.  Blog got compromised a little, and writing got compromised a little.  But I’m back now after the 3-day break, and it turns out that that break was actually okay because I came up with a way to build a post around it :), fraught with metaphor and resonance and instruction!! 😀  Hoorah!

DFTBA, for those of you unenlightened folk out there, is an increasingly-popular acronym standing for “Don’t Forget to Be Awesome”.  (Look it up, and watch the rest of your life’s productivity crumble before your eyes.)    I’ve been mulling over it the past few days (not that there’s terribly much about it to mull on) and have come to the conclusion that ultimately, this is the best blogging (and life) tip I can give you.  Maybe it’s just the blogs I read, but to me it seems that this medium is notorious for attracting Type-A personalities in all their glory–complete with obsessive perfectionism, occasionally low self-esteem, and a ruthless, cut-throat competitivity.  Since blogging is at once intensely personal and extremely public, the natural urge is to want everyone who comes across your blog to absolutely adore it, for them to share it on all their social networks and tell all their friends about it and just watch your blog grow to superstar status within a couple of months.  Sometimes, the urge is even there to bypass what you want to post about in favor of what you think will bring the most hits to your blog/make you seem more fantabulous in the eye of the public.  I know I’ve fallen victim to this many a time…

“I’ll try for cute points!”

Then Zixie wanted to play.

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I’ll admit I laughed at the pun as I “cropped” this bird photo 😉

Old Pics 208

or “I will only write ‘powerful’ posts that hold deep thoughts and life resonance, rather than logs of my daily life…”  (Link, link, link, linkity link.)

or “I’ll scrounge up a crappy WIAW post because I told myself I was going to and besides linkups bring in more pageviews anyway…

or “I’ve had this idea knocking around in my skull for a while and it has the potential to be really well-written and thought-provoking but I scheduled myself to post it today so it’s going up, regardless of quality”  (I’m still embarrassed by this post.  Literally, the only reason I posted it was because I felt really obligated to…you probably shouldn’t click that link.  [I know it’s soon going to become one of my most-clicked links this week.])

Whereas when I get what feels like a really good, creative idea for a post really suddenly, and just decide to go for it even though it’s not “scheduled”, it ends up being a favorite, and much more entertaining than the strained-through fare.

I guess what I’m trying to stress here is quality over quantity.  (Oh look, this is relating to NaNoWriMo in even more ways than I originally anticipated…)  In the first few months you manage your blog, as with anything, identify your strengths, weaknesses, and proclivities so you can recognize what needs to be changed, what can’t be changed, and what’s working really well for you!  For instance, over this year I’ve learned that I can’t be a post-a-day blogger, not to mention those incredible morning-noon-night posters.  I get burnt out quickly and need time away from the computer to refill my creative stores if I’ve been blogging too heavily.  Yeah, sometimes–especially when I’m doing a segment like this Blogoversary segment or Poemography–I’ll bang out multiple posts a day for the sake of commitment, but, as I’ve said, my creative writing suffers from this as well.  (Haven’t penned a single novel word today…)  I also can’t be a happy-happy-shine-shine blogger all the time, although I try to keep TGITO overall positive and enthusiastic!  It’s just who I am, as a person and as a writer–I see myself as a glass-half-full type, but I’m also pretty cynical at times, always introspective, introverted, and majorly socially awkward, and often sarcastic.  This has its benefits, because I see myself as pretty galdang witty sometimes, but I’m sorry that I can’t be that beacon of glowing inspiration and happiness in your life.  (Or maybe I can?  Maybe you love me so galdang much that you can look past my human introspective tendencies and see my inner awesome The Girl in the Orange..?)  Anyway, I comfort myself knowing that there are a lot of insanely positive blogs out there, so hopefully they can round out your blog-reading experience and you can still keep coming back for more TGITO! 😀 😉

These realizations, I think, are incredibly important in determining your blogging style and keeping your blog going in your own authentic voice–identifying your nuances, flaws and strengths, and coming to terms with them.  Ultimately, I think your readers appreciate when your true voice shines through your blog, and it’s obvious you aren’t just attempting “groundbreaking” and “impressive” posts because other people will like them.  Create a blog you would want to read, one you’re happy with.  Don’t Forget To Be your Awesome self.  If you like the content you’re producing, no matter how many followers or “likes” or shares or comments you get, you’re doin’ it right.  🙂

dftba

Orange peelings:

July

(oh, wow, look!  such an intriguing title! :P)

Remember how I alluded to the fact that things gon’ be changin’ around these parts?  (“These parts” being my life and the way I manage it…)

This is gonna happen now, folks.  Forrealzies.

I’ve made a lot of promises in the past and entertained myself with visions of productive grandeur–every time, the things, whatever they were that I pledged myself to, had a habit of…not getting done.  Oh yes, I would set goals, write out lists, lay out my workout gear and my fountain pen and my planner and whatever crap I thought would rocket me to success…then I would log into Bloglovin’ or WordPress or Pinterest and it was game over.

What can I say?  I’m easily distracted.  (I’m choosing to believe it’s a sign of brilliance.)  I can hardly ever clean my room, because I get so engrossed in the objects I’m picking up off my floor that I forget the task at hand entirely.  I get distracted by my own feet.  Clearly, my brain is no match for the multiple-tab-wielding, infinite-destination vortex of my internet browser.

distractions

Oh, but this sounds like a “Goodbye, internet” post!  I promise you that this is not the case!  (I don’t think I could manage that anyhow…)  More of a warning/notification of sorts…of impending changes around these parts.

I am DOING STUFF this month, and next.  I intend to put the rest of my summer vacation to very good use.

So I’ve compiled a “Daily To-Do List” for the rest of the summer, which reads thusly:

  • 1 chapter TLOTR

Yes, this is something of seemingly no importance in an odd position of priority on my list.  For some reason, though, I’ve devoted myself entirely to the task of mowing through the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy over the summer (mainly because I feel like it’s something I should have read by now), and if I ration it out this way, it ends up being just over 60 days’ worth of reading.

  • 1667 words or 1 hour revision in Thaw (at minimum)

Camp NaNoWriMo is here today! =D  I’m all stocked up with Scrivener, and a writing nook–I’ve gussied up The Shed for maximum comfort and reclusivity as I bang away on the keyboard–an inspiration jar, and coffee.

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productivity palace

No one ever hire me as a graphic designer.

Technically it's a button jar.  But I like to scatter them on the ping-pong table and pick out buttons to suit different characters' personalities.

Technically it’s a button jar. But I like to scatter them on the ping-pong table and pick out buttons to suit different characters’ personalities…

DSCN2979DSCN2986

Frog Slippers & Connect4--also necessities

Frog Slippers & Connect4–also necessities

  • 1 hr exercise (save 1 weekly rest/active recovery day)

Workouts have fallen to the wayside over the past month or so, due to knees and an odd bout of travel (three trips in a month…)–but, over the summer, there is no excuse not to cram in this USDA-recommended amount!  (Why does the Department of Agriculture tell me how much I should work out?)  I’ve started compiling a Summer Shapeup Pinterest board, I’m somewhat-participating in the Fitnessista Summer Shapeup 4-Week Plan (which I can repeat for a 2-month circuit) and am dabbling elsewhere in the blogosphere for similar plans.  While I know I’m mainly going to be forming my own routine, one that works for me, I think these plans will be good guidelines for the eventual regimen, even if I don’t follow them verbatum.

  • Physical Therapy

Boo.  I wish my knee problems could just vanish.  7 months is a long time.  But nothing is going to happen unless I keep doing those leg lifts…

(ugch–Instagrammed this picture way back in March.  Still toin’ that line…)

  • Cooking/Recipe Experimenting

A new challenge I’m embarking on this month is called Feed the Parents.  😉  Sort of like a Meatless Monday, in effect (except it’s going to be happening on Tuesdays…)–on a suggestion from Mother Dearest and in an effort to rationalize vegetarian eating in the parental minds, I’m going to start cooking a family dinner once a week.  (Usually I’m the only one who will even go ten miles near my food…)  This is probably an opportunity to ramp up my cooking skills, too!  (I’ll eat anything :), but when cooking for others one must be more discerning)  Still, if anyone has any family- and Standard-American-Diet-friendly vegetarian recipes they’d like to recommend, I’m all ears!

I’ll probably chronicle this thing on the blog as well, taking note of successes and flops.  🙂

  • Blogging!

You will notice that I do not, currently, blog every day. *pauses for effect*

This is mainly because my blog has never really been one of those “log blogs” that goes like “Oh, hey guys, I woke up this morning so that’s a plus! and then I ate this for breakfast and then I went and exercised and then we went to this movie and then for dinner we had this and I made this dessert…”  I have nothing against those types of blogs, it’s just not hasn’t been my thing.  You know me.  I post when I have something to say, something to share, something to recap, a linkup to join, a challenge to embark upon.  My daily life is tucked neat and tidily behind the curtain.

But with all this stuff I’m going to be doing for the remainder of the summer…

I need someone to keep me accountable, right?

*wink**wink* Well, who better to do this than all of my loyal followers?  (All 56 of you…) At least over the next month, I was thinking bumping up the posting rate to a daily post–undoubtedly they’d become much less lengthy than my current standard, and nothing earth-shattering would be discussed; but, just a log of the accomplishments of the day, as a way to keep myself on track.  What do you guys think of this idea?  TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS; I LOVE HEARING YOUR BEAUTIFUL VIRTUAL VOICES 😀

I hope everyone is having a Marvelous Monday…

(And congratulations to Katie, the host of this loverly partay, on her new baby boy!) 🙂

I am, ‘cuz I’m pumped to get…SHIN done. ;P

For NaNoWriMo’s #My1stStory Program:

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The first thing I “wrote” was in Kindergarten: a “novel” entitled The Dragon of the Leafy Trees.  It was an epic fantasy that concluded with a human vanquishing the fairy-sized and fairy-plaguing dragon by “merely stepping on him”.

The teachers told me I held the pencil wrong.  It was the first act of rebellion in a writing lifetime flavored by nonconformity; and it was the first spark to my creative fire.

Writing Matters, yo.

 

http://blog.lettersandlight.org/storiesmatter

http://thegirlintheorange.com/

Summer Resolutions

Resolutions are usually mystical entities declared by adults ’round the world come the beginning of a new year, in a champagne-, guilt-, and glitter-induced stupor–the doomed declarations that this year, this time, one shall finally “whittle their middle”, swear off the sweet stuff, wean away from Pinterest, and clean up one’s act.

This summer, I say hoshposh! to this madness.

I don’t recall making any New Year’s resolutions myself this year–stops, consults blog archives–no, whew, I didn’t.  I attribute this mainly to the midterms taking place around that time (exam stress can justify anything).  Honestly, I wonder if any student actually has time for such things.  The whole notion of a New Year’s Resolution seems rather pointless to me, as it is seldom followed through and often made simply because the resolver is under the influence of heavy peer pressure and one too many drinks…

But I am going to make some Summer Resolutions here, specifically summer blogging resolutions.  Much more practical notions.  Summer, at least for me, is the season of infinite motivation and willpower, as well as infinite free time (well, not really; but there’s more of it).  And I feel, at least up to this point, that I have not been making the best use of these resources.  So, behold the list:

The Girl in the Orange’s Summer Resolutions:

1.  Cook!  I don’t know how it happened–shall I attribute this, too, to schoolwork stress?–but somewhere over the course of the school year I decided that there was simply no longer enough time to cook dinner, so I resorted to such things as canned soups, frozen lasagnas and veggie burgers, and hummus/veggie/tortilla wraps…even on the days where I came home and blogged for hours.  I call myself a foodie–where was my pride?  Over the summer, I want to put this

Perks of being an aspiring cook, living in a kind vegetarian-packed city, and telling everyone you know about it.  (Most of these were free.)

Perks of being an aspiring cook, living in a kind vegetarian-packed city, and telling everyone you know about it. (Most of these were free.)

along with the farmer’s market’s current summer bounty, to good use–maybe even pick up a few new techniques or flex my recipe developing “skills” again.  Some blogosphere dishes I’m eyeing?  The Smart Kitchen’s TVP Cinnamon-Cocoa Mole; The Kitchn’s restaurant spin-off Beet Black Bean Burgers; Crock Pot Curried Lentils from Peanut Butter Fingers (not really the right season for this, but oh well); and, of course, all things Oh She Glows.  Basically, everything on my sprawling recipe Pinterest board.

Additionally, I want to get back to more food here on TGITO!!  I know I’ve kinda left it on the back burner, except for a few WIAW posts, in favor of writing-related entries, because that’s so much of what’s going on in my life right now–but, I assure you, I have not abandoned my voracious ways.

2.  Fit this Chick!  Ever since my knees said “Adios!  I don’t like you; I think you’re gross,” (you will be my new best friend if you get the song reference), exercise and healthy eating has also been on the back burner for me.  My thought process, upon injury, was something like Oh, woe is me–bring on the chocolate!!!  Unfortunately, 6 7 8 months of such thought patterns takes its toll on one’s body.  I have become rather…squishy.

I am currently working on scheming up a strict fitness regimen for the rest of the summer, based on other Summer Shapeup plans drifting around the blogosphere–because I want to actually go out for sports next year, getting into shape is going to be a huge priority over the next couple of months!  (And hey, here’s another, non-writing-related thingy to blog about, as a bonus!)

3.  Stop, savor, scribble.  I live in the 21st century–I do a lot of going.  Going online, going to the grocery store, going to get my priorities together, going to scream, going to the loo, going insane…  *WARNING**WARNING**IMPENDING CLICHE*  Our society, as a whole, doesn’t take nearly enough time to slow downsimplify, stop and smell the roses.  (Oh, I can attest an affinity for alliteration, what about you?)  For the writer that I consider myself, this pace is not an altogether agreeable one.

Last month, I took to carrying a little notebook and mechanical pencil around with me at ALL TIMES in my purse…*pats self on back* This was a wonderful decision.  I didn’t realize the HUGE amount of little observations and inspirations that zip through my mind on a daily basis–I could probably begin a new novel every day, with all the places my mind jumps to–it’s just a matter of capturing them.  If I don’t bother to take a few seconds out of my day to scrawl them down, they are ALWAYS gone by the time I am sitting in front of my laptop, waiting for inspiration to buzz through my fingertips and onto the keyboard.

So…this Summer I Solemnly Swear I will Stop, Savor, and Scribble Selflessly and Studiously!

4.  Achieve Equinox.

This is a little euphemism I thought up a few months ago, which I found rather clever at the time.  It translates to finish my current novel.

Allow me to explain: the title of my current novel is Thaw (and I’m sort of trying to keep most of the other details on the hush-hush until Equinox, so bear with me here [did I really just say hush-hush?])–when I complete this novel, it will mean that Thaw is completed, and when the thaw is completed, then you know what that means?

It’s obviously the Vernal Equinox.

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In my defense, I was never going to tell you guys about this.  I think I thought it up when I was very, very tired (similar to now).  Feel free to throw rotten tomatoes at your computer screen; to lessen your angst, I will once again provide you with this:Infographic

Might I remind you that I never claimed to be normal.

–ANYWHOS, yes, I am participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this year–first time ever!  I plan to achieve Equinox sometime before the Summer Solstice, and then I can get started on editing and all that jazz.  (And then I will need beta readers! Wink-wink).  Thus, my blogging during July will probably be salted with sleep deprivation-induced hysteria, much like this post.  That’ll be fun, right, guys??!

If I happen to connect with any other NaNoers through this post, and, even after all this blather, they’re willing to be cabin mates, message me on the Camp Site (ha-ha) @The Girl in the Orange!  (But I call dibs on top bunk.)

So…that’s all for now, folks.  What about you?  How are you planning on seizing the season of superlative motivation and surmountable time?  (Yes…I realize I’m trying much too hard now…)

Slammin’

Hey-howdy-hey blogosphere dwellers!

Notice anything up yonder? ^^ Wink-wink…

That’s right!  Hopefully, in spite of what you typed into the address bar to come partake in my flax-golden-tale-spinning, you have been redirected to the NEW and IMPROVED   THEGIRLINTHEORANGE.COM!!  No more controlling “WordPress” butting its head into my domain name anymore…big, big moment, friends.  Let us rejoice!

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Also, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but…it’s freaking Spring.

Anyway.  IMMENSE apologies for the two-week bloggus hiatus.  I promise I didn’t drop off the face of the earth.  I promise it’s not anything personal.  More like it’s a combination of end-of-school-year stress, the wonderful void of procrastination that is the internet, and the fact that for the past few weeks pretty much all I’ve been doing outside of academia is holing up in The Shed with my laptop and writin’ stuff.  (Ah, yes.  It has been a culprit for unprecedented absences ever since the beginning of the blog.)

I’ve got a poetry slam coming up on Thursday.  Nothing big, but big for me.  Second ever.  For which I am pretty excited about and also uncharacteristically nervous.  It’s just…my poetry hasn’t been all that exceptional lately, and meh.

I’ve started up writing a new novel (which one probably shouldn’t do while still in the midst of writing a different one), which is going markedly better than my poetic attempts.

I’ve thrown myself into reckless literary abandon and I don’t foresee a near end to the madness.

I am in the midst of freaking out about the impending Carnegie Hall trip (which I try to bear in mind whenever I get doubtsy about abilities and such).  This includes shopping ruthlessly and excessively for the proper attire, compiling a secret Pinterest board of NY snapshots, and freaking out.  And freaking out.

Hopefully I will still have time to fangirl about food. 😉  This space should pick back up in terms of posting regularity once summer hits, and once my unexpected bout of creative urges has died down.  For now, wish me inspiration and productivity! 🙂

2012; hey, that was fun

Happy New Year!!!

So, did you guys stay up until midnight last night?

…I…went to bed at 8:30 didn’t.

Let’s just say I’m a striking example of what sufficient beauty sleep will do to a gal, mmkay? 😉

And now for something massive: for the first time in The Girl in the Orange history, I get to do a YEARLY recap!  (As opposed to my plethora of regular Monthly Recaps.)  Granted, I’ve only blogged for five months in 2012–but I lived through all of it, and as it is now 2013, I think it deserves a little soft reminiscing.

Here it is!:

One YEAR of The Girl in the Orange in terms of…

…food:

Um, I think I “developed” four “recipes” this year??  And they all had to do with oats…what does this say about my character? 😉 (Don’t answer that; it says nothing.  Nothing, apart form the fact that I love oats.)  I think I’m most proud of my Birthday Cake Baked Oatmeal, but that may be because it’s the most recent and because I got to use my new orange camera to photograph it.  It feels strangely independent.

In other foodie realms, I had some mishaps

as well as some mind-blowing successes.

What can I say?  I’m blessed enough to eat three five square meals a day and the eatin’s good.  I’ve been cooking on my own since March 2011; but when my food became public by means of this blog, 2012 became more of a year to stretch my wings and gather skills and confidence in the kitchen.  (I even finally mastered pancakes!! 😀  Everyone else says they’re so easy…:(.  They lie!)

…photography:

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My favorite food photos of the year.  (You knew my chocolate header one would be in there, didn’t you?) ;P

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You guys didn’t see this one; but over the holiday break I was having mucho fun playing with the “selective coloring” feature of my new camera!  This is a mug of blueberry tea, slowly brewing…it’s quite dramatic, non?

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Smile, Stitch!

Smile, Stitch!

Dog photos as well.  Don’t tell me you can look at that last one without cracking a grin.

…writing and poetry:

That’s right; since this is a YEARLY recap, you get a BONUS category!

I’m in a MUCH better place emotionally this year than I was last year; consequentially, my poetry went waaay downhill this year!  You know what they say: bad times make for good writing.  I found this to be true.  Now that I’m happy I can’t write anything.

But I HAVE started making things I wrote last year more public–I started a Figment account this month (user The Girl in the Orange), for one thing.  As I near (or, just, you know, kind of generally approach) the end of my novel, I’m really focusing on making my work more public–according to literary attorney publishing saint, establishing a formidable online presence is a very good way to attract the attention of potential publishers.

(To any potential publishers reading this: Hi!  I am working on a “Novel” page for this blog with a detailed summary of my work-in-progress, so check back soon!)

AND, I wrote a grand total of over 110,000 words on my novel this year (mostly all in the course of the last five months), and of that I am proud.  It’s not STAGGERINGLY EXCESSIVE, but considering all the other things I was doing (cough cough private school homework, cough cough), I still think that’s acceptable.

…things that made me smile:

Well, I got my hair chopped off.HAIR! 004

HAIR! 007

Big leap, that I’m so glad I took.  (And don’t worry–I shaved the back of my neck after these pictures were taken!) 😉

AAND, I ran my first 5k!  While not a major distance compared to the insane lengths other people run (ultramarathoners, I’m alookin’ at you), it was a big accomplishment for me.

There was one other HUGE lovely in the past year for me, but I’m not quite emotionally ready to post about that yet. 🙂  Let me just say that 2012 was an emotional renewal, of sorts, and I am so much better off now.

And The Girl in the Orange 2012 report is here!  Click below and see all the awesomeness that was the past year (why on earth did I bother to recap it all?).  I find it funny that one of the search engine terms that led people to me most was “mickey mouse pancake mold”… 😉  Here, I’ll humor you.  One more picture.Disney 035

2012 blog report (compiled by “WordPress stats helper monkeys” ): Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Ahh, sweet 2012.  Such nice reminiscences.  I imagine I’ll do a resolution post later on the week, but for now it’s pretty nice to enjoy soft fuzzies, and eat cake for breakfast.  Scratch that, that’s always nice, right?

Tales from 12/21/12, The First Day of the Rest of My Life (and coincidentally, the end of the world)

(Note: for entertainment and clarity purposes, The Girl in the Orange will be substituted with the appropriate alter-alias Small-town Hick in this post.  I feel it is the name that can best express the sense of completely overwhelmed-ness I was experiencing as I tromped around in one of the biggest cities I have ever been in.)

At 5:30 AM, Small-town Hick wakes.  Small-town Hick is antsy, having not slept well the previous night, and is quite ravenous, so she is up in the kitchen fixing tea and oatmeal strange orange goo within two seconds.

Pumpkin protein oatmeal–Hick didn’t want to get hungry during the meeting!

After breakfast, Small-town Hick takes shower and spends a record-breaking time of twenty-three minutes doing hair.  Status: better than usual.  Small-town Hick is satisfied but wonders how it managed to get so frizzy, for all it’s so short.

Small-town Hick decides she is hungry ravenous again and eats a cashew butter sandwich on homemade whole-wheat bread.  Hick considers eating more but decides that it is really nerves she is experiencing, not acute starvation.

Small-town Hick puts on pantyhose.  No, really.

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At 9:00 AM, Small-town Hick stumbles due to her absurdly high half-inch heels struts to Chevrolet luxe limousine in the pouring rain softly and poetically falling snow.

Small-town Hick spends two hours in the car on the trip, knowing she should be compiling questions for the impending meeting, but her brain is like a still-humming, dying wire.  She has a quite adversarial relationship with the chemicals found in that processed abomination humankind refers to as gum, but she slides a stick between her teeth here, not because she really likes the taste or is experiencing hunger again, but because she wants something to do with her mouth.  She swipes on lip balm for the same reason, telling herself that she could probably use it anyway.

Instead of coming up with questions, she chooses to engage in an intense conversation about zombies with Mother Dearest.  She comes to the conclusion that, if such a thing as a “zombie-virus” actually existed, much of what is portrayed in zombie literature would be plausible, assuming that zombies are sort of akin to single-celled organisms: no brain, innate instincts driving them towards food, etc.  She also comes to the conclusion, however, that the zombie rom/com (?!) Warm Bodies is not plausible, because following on the logical thread of zombies=single-cell organisms, then zombies would not be able to translate the messages taken in by their eyes (how are their eyes still there, anyway?) into what we call sight (nor would they possess any of the 5 senses) and could therefore not fall in love with a specific human.

Destination is reached.  Big building.  Biiiiigbigbigbigbigbigbig building.  Building is mainly glass on one side and Small-town Hick thinks it is a skyscraper.  Small-town Hick would later find out building has 30 floors, plus underground parking levels.  Small-town Hick would faint.

Small-town Hick enters bigbigbigbigbig building.  She cautiously introduces herself with her pantyhose and her sophisticated act and her forced smile and her knowing that everyone is wondering what a teenager is doing in this sophisticated bigbigbigbigbig building.  People walking around Small-town Hick are carrying Prada totes and the like, while Small-town Hick has a vinyl reusable shopping bag slung over her back.  Small-town Hick grins nervously, and is instructed to go to the 27th floor.

Small-town Hick uses restroom there and is shocked by the utter silence and stillness of it all.  The building is so quiet, it seems to be abandoned except for her and Mother Dearest–such is the fate of a place that has never known the voice of a child.

Hick washes her hands for an obscenely long amount of time, thinking that perhaps she should just not show up, that the world would go on anyway if she just stood there for the rest of eternity, washing and washing and washing her hands, get them extraextra-clean.

Small-town Hick is told to go to either floor 17 or floor 19.  She is in the wrong place.

Small-town Hick selects floor 17 on the elevator, but somehow it stops at floor 21 and she naively waltzes out.  This floor is white and has more sophisticated wall art adorning the corridors.  It is also very quiet.  Small-town Hick starts heading in entirely the wrong direction and is escorted by a kindly businesswoman carrying her coffee into the elevator, and to floor 23.

Secretary on floor 23 questions Small-town Hick about how she has reached said floor; only those with a key card are granted access.  Small-town Hick’s mind reels.  She stammers out an apology, choking back the fact that she didn’t know such things existed outside of spy movies.  Secretary smiles and escorts Small-town Hick into a large office with one entirely glass wall looking out over the drizzling city, with instructions to wait and inquiries about whether she needed any coffee.  Small-town Hick doesn’t drink coffee.  Small-town Hick waits quietly and fiddles with her earring for quite some time.

Important Person comes in and meets with Small-town Hick about her writing and discusses Options and Strategies for getting Small-town Hick’s work in the eyes of a mainstream publisher.

Small-town Hick thanks Important Person and exits the bigbigbigbigbig building after an hour or so, and stumbles struts to a nearby Chipotle for lunchness.  Problem:  Chipotle workers assume that you’ve been there before.  Small-town Hick finds herself giving a bewildered, out-of-the-blue  “Hello!”  to her first server as said server impatiently flourishes a hard taco shell behind the counter.  “Wait, the order normally comes with three?  And you’ll charge me the same price even if I just buy one taco?  Well, I’ll have three then…oh, never mind, I guess.  No, no sour cream.”

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Small-town Hick ponders on the journey home…and starts writing!!

Updates

I’ve had to make the difficult transition from Black Friday to food before, but that’s really nothing compared to what I now  have to do here.  I have to shift from talking about a horrific tragedy…to talking about myself.  This makes me feel rotten as a person…but there’s really no way to blog without talking about yourself.  I still send my deepest grievances and prayers to those affected by the Sandy Hook shooting.

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Isn’t it so annoyingly nondescript when a blogger titles a post something like “My life now”, or “Things Happening”, or “Updates”?  I hear you.  You just want to scream at them, you’re writing a blog here!  The least you can do is come up with creative titles for your posts–they’re ALL updates!  I share in this vehement loathing of unoriginal post titles, and so I apologize; but I didn’t feel that this post better fit any other title.  It is quite literally a random hodgepodge of Updates.

First Update:  Exercise is back in my life!

Stripey socks, meet kettlebells.  I love it.

Stripey socks, meet kettlebells. I love it.

I still don’t trust my knees or ankles enough to run again, but I’m starting strength training in earnest now, as opposed to  treating it as just something I do on the side of my running regimen.  I have decided that it’s cool that I finished a 5k but extremely uncool that everyone (all 6 people) in my math class can beat me at arm wrestling.  Grr.  At the moment, I have bony, skinny little bird arms (please excuse the fact that birds do not actually have arms) and couldn’t do a full push-up if my life depended on it; this needs to change.  Thus, I have begun working with kettlebells, Daddio’s weight cage, resistance bands, and good old-fashioned (erm, modified) pushups and pull-ups.  Maybe injuring my legs was just the wake-up call I needed to let me know that I’m very fit, but my upper body…needs help.

Guess what came yesterday??

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Tee-hee!  Protein powder makes me a very happy girl.  Yes, I blew what little birthday money I received on this bad boy–$50 for the canister!! 😦  But it’s worth it.  I’m slowly becoming obsessed, and must keep reminding myself that I need to eat nuts, legumes, grains, and eggs for protein as well.  Can’t just spoon the Vega into mouth all day.

And I will fully admit that I did the “weird-foodie-waiting-for-new-food-to-arrive” thing (anyone out there that can relate??), which goes a little something like this:

1.  Constantly refresh your Amazon order status, waiting for that precious Delivered tag to appear under the picture of your glorious impending food.

2.  Browse blogs and cookbooks extensively and bookmark new recipes you will be able to make once you receive (insert new food here).

3.  Make the half-mile trek to your mailbox (if you live in a hole like I do) in pouring rain just so you can retrieve The Package.

4.  Joyously, unceremoniously slit the tape on The Package and marvel at the contents.  Covet your new foodstuff, hug it, take it to the breakfast table with you so you can thoroughly read the label and product description as you eat some Lesser Food.  Immediately shove New Food into your mouth as soon as you terminate your regularly scheduled meal.

I was really excited for this protein powder, mmkay?

In other news, I am journeying to Seattle tomorrow to meet with the aforementioned literary attorney.  This is so foreign and so exciting–it makes my heart speed up whenever I think about it.  I have no idea what will come of the meeting, but I am of the optimistic sort (when I have food in my stomach, at least) and have high hopes.

But…

There are a million potential pitfalls and possible pratfalls.  Does the outfit I’m choosing to wear look professional enough?  Or does it look too old for me?  Is my posture okay–am I exhibiting the dreaded “teenage slouch”?  And, oh, yeah, what if I realize that everything I’ve written is the quality of the type of stuff you would find in a sewer?  Gah, the stress; the opportunity.