Sometimes, you have to add a battery pack and twinkle lights

In June, I attended my fourth BlogHer conference. But this one felt strange. The last six writing conferences I attended all had a similar feel — one in which I knew dozens of people and was comfortable just…being me. That’s when I thrive.

This time, I started the conference off with a bang. After 3 flights in less than a week, and a truly amazing Disney adventure, my back was acting up for the first time in months. I was in pain, which only exasperated my desire to hide.

I know what you’re thinking. Chrissy? Hiding?

So, I’m an introverted extrovert. If you know me, you couldn’t possibly see me as shy. But if you don’t, you might think I’m the quiet one. Adding to that, I spent much of this year suffering from mild depression and anxiety, and now, I’ve got a recipe for disaster.

And so at BlogHer, only knowing a few of the several thousand people and trying to fight through pain, anxiety, and depression, I found myself hiding. Skipping sessions to nap in my room. Barely taking any photos throughout the events. Wandering the exhibitor hall by myself instead of sitting through full keynotes from really interesting speakers. Opting out of late night partying with new friends, and instead, I found myself floating down the lazy river with my roomie, Renee.

It was still fun, but it was a different kind of fun than one should have at a writing conference full of like-minded people. I found myself asking why I was even there.

On Friday night, I took a Valium for my back pain and crashed early.

On Saturday morning, Renee left, and my dear friend, Samara, was doing her own thing…so I wandered the expo for a while. I was interviewed for a Forbes podcast, and the guy looked at me — sporting a normal-ish blonde hairstyle and simple blue dress — with douche eyes and actually said, “Quirky Chrissy? You don’t look very quirky. Now, I saw this other girl who had rainbow hair and a unicorn horn. Now, THAT’S quirky.” Maybe it was the place my brain was hiding, but I wanted to simultaneously punch him and cry. But how do you defend your personality when someone mocks your chosen moniker?

I left the expo feeling down in the dumps.

The thing about being an extrovert who suffers from depression and anxiety is that you need people to help lift you out of the cycle, but you don’t want to be around people when you’re depressed or anxious.

By the time the closing party rolled around, I was ready to go home. But I told Samara I’d meet her down there. And I knew there would be snacks — I was starving, and I’ve yet to find a reason to say no to free food. So I decided I had one last chance to bust out my magic twinkle skirt.

And then I found some more of my people, and people recharge me the way the battery pack sewn into this skirt makes it light up. They bring me back to life (that’s the extroverted part of my brain). I met the unicorn girl, Elliotte, — who, by the way, is AMAZING — and she was kind and wonderful and inspiring…and she gave me a pink unicorn horn.

writers posing at the blogher17 closing party

Photo credit: BlogHer17/SheKnows Media

If I could have gone back in time and worn this fucking skirt the whole time I was in Orlando, I think I would have. Because there’s no better way to make 50 new friends than to wear a light up twinkle skirt. It was my superhero transformation and for a few hours, I wasn’t depressed or anxious or homesick. It wasn’t a REAL fix, but it helped me.

It was my superhero transformation and for a few hours, I wasn’t depressed or anxious or homesick. It wasn’t a REAL fix, but it helped me end the weekend on a high note.Twinkling Stars Skirt - Blue. 3X by ThinkGeek

I started seeing writing friends at the conference, some of whom I knew were there and that I’d said hi to, but hadn’t made a point to actually hang out with, despite my desperate need for more human interaction. I was shy and nervous. I convinced myself they didn’t want to hang out with me. I was afraid. But once I put on my magic skirt, and it was like I could hide my insecurities behind the sparkles and just illuminate the bright spots. It was a Band Aid, but at the time, I really needed a Band Aid.

selfie with writing friends at BlogHer

Eventually, I met up with Samara and she was ready to DANCE. And so I danced. And twirled. And shined brighter than I had throughout the whole conference. I felt glimmers of the me that I love to be, and I knew I had to get back there.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Why Shonda Rhimes is Dead to Me

BIG. FAT. SPOILER ALERT. If you’re not up to date on Grey’s, walk away now. From the show. Or this post. Or both. One of those.

Grey's

I’m not ashamed. I’m in mourning. For eleven years, I’ve been in a tumultuous relationship with Grey’s Anatomy. We had our ups and downs. We jumped through quite a few crazy hoops. We let a lot of really atrocious shit slide. We loved and lost, but this loss is too much. This broke me. This destroyed us.

Shonda, you’re an asshole. A spiteful, malicious bitch. Grey’s Anatomy MADE you. The fans MADE you. You betrayed our trust. You don’t give enough fucks about Grey’s, even though it’s the one that put you on the map. This was something you needed to do better. It needed to BE better. Meredith deserved better. WE deserve better. And quite frankly, Prince Fucking Charming shouldn’t have died. Sure, it’s a drama. But you turned a drama into a tragedy. And not even a good one. Killing off eleven years of emotional investment with a stupid, fleeting, single-episode plot is just wrong.

You didn’t even make Derek’s death a remotely decent or reliable plot twist. First, you skirted around a dozen different ways McDreamy could have left the show.  He could have stayed in DC. He could have cheated (thank GOD you didn’t do that) on Mer. He could have been killed in another plane crash (insert eye roll here). He could have died in the car crash at the beginning of the episode. And so on and so forth. Then, you let him die alone. ‘Da fuck?

For someone who’s praised as such a gifted TV writer, your inexcusable story arc sure did leave us with a lot of questions. Why didn’t Bailey tell Meredith that she had been on a call with Derek earlier that day? Or that the call had dropped? If he was in a dead zone, why did his phone buzz? Why would he stop in the middle of the street to answer it? Where was his phone and ID in that mess to identify him? Did he need to be a John Doe? If they airlift people from the middle of nowhere to Grey Sloan ALL THE DAMN TIME, why didn’t they do it this time? Don’t write him off dying alone in some podunk fucking hospital.  Don’t make Meredith make the decision to pull the plug alone. Seriously?

I’m fucking done. And I’m not the only one. We’re pissed, Shonda. And not oh-my-god-I-can’t-wait-to-watch-the-next-episode pissed. 102,000 fans and counting are signing petitions and shit to bring back the character you eliminated in the most horrific way.

You think we want to watch any more of your shitty cry fests after you destroyed any chance of Bright and Shiny Meredith ever, at all? After you killed off a character in the most senseless, asinine way? No. That shit will not taint my television. But just in case you were wondering, here are a few ways you could have left the fans with a little less bitter, we-quit-you rage.

You Could Have Allowed His Death to Have Meaning

Okay. You want to kill him. You’re a vindictive writer like that. If he had to die that day, let him die saving one of those teenagers. Or the little girl. Or her mom. Don’t let his death be completely void of any rhyme or reason. If it were such a beautiful day to save lives (every life but his own), he should have died to prevent someone else from dying. You could have created a believable heroic story on one of the ferry boats he loved so much. Or he could have died pushing someone away from the explosion that happened in the beginning of the episode. Derek did not have to die for naught.

You Could Have Let Him Stay in DC

Everyone was okay when he was in DC. Sure, he was Skyping his family more than seeing them. But if you had let him live, Mer could take the kids on weekend trips and he could come home a little more often. You wouldn’t need to show any of that. You would just need to mention it every now and then. The point is that they’re still together and in love. He’s still Prince Charming and Mer’s still happy and rocking as a surgeon.

You Could Have Faded Him to Black

You know that place you were headed with the happy non-brilliant-surgeon, soccer-coach-dad thing? That. Do that. Dr. Shepherd would have flitted off into the sunset and lived happily ever after as a devoted husband and dad. He could be mentioned in passing as doing something perfectly lovely as a stay at home dad while all hell breaks loose in the hospital and his baby sister would save the day. He would never need to appear on the show, but we’d be happy…knowing he was dedicated to Mer and their family.

But you didn’t do any of these things, Shonda. Instead, you followed your tired surprise-but-not-really plot twist formula. Grey’s Anatomy is just like Game of Thrones. Except the characters are much more likable, and when you kill them off, abruptly, without thought or even a solid story arc, you’re an asshole.

I’d say that I’m waiting for Meredith to be executed the way of Eddard Stark, but I won’t be around to see it. Because I’m so over it (but not really, because I’m in fucking pain). And Shonda Rhimes is dead to me.

 

Am I alone in this nonsense? Are you a Grey’s fan gone rogue? What shows are you emotionally invested in? What are TV deal breakers for you?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Those Were the Best Days of My Life…Or Were They?

The other day I was jammin’ out in the car to Summer of ’69. As I was singing (and likely annoying the crap out of Brian), I started thinking about the places that this song takes me.

As a little girl, I was a junior cheerleader for a K-8 football and cheerleading organization. I was with the same team from 3rd through 8th grade, and we competed in poms against other suburban cheer teams. One of our first-place routines was choreographed to Summer of ’69, so it certainly has fond memories for me. I almost busted out a kick line and imagined myself ponying. In the car. In case you forgot.

But this time, instead of just reminiscing to my childhood, I found myself listening to the lyrics as I belted them out to Brian’s dismay (the singing, not the thinking).

In the song, Bryan Adams sings about the good ol’ days when he was carefree and in love, before responsibility and adulthood.

Those were the best days of my life…

And I looked back on my past (all *cough*29*cough* years) life and thought about it. Which of those years or experiences were the BEST days of my life? Where would I go back if given the chance? What summer truly seemed to last forever?

And the answer was simple. I’m living the best days of my life. Good, bad and ugly, my present is so much better than my past. Because my past led me here. And the here and now will lead me to my future, so that I can always say that my present is the best days of my life.

Those were the best days of my life…

I have had some absolutely wonderful experiences, childhood vacations and camping trips. Family memories full of love. Friendships that have withstood the test of time. A growing circle of friends that has expanded and multiplied with more friends and their families. Relationships that helped me realize who I am and what I want so that I could find (and pester until he finally took me out on a date) and recognize the person that I am meant to be with.

I’m lucky.

But for every bright day, there was a dark one. For every memory of love, I have a memory of being bullied or watching my brother get bullied. For every memory of friendship, I have a memory of deception or cruelty or loneliness. For every memory of sheer happiness, I know and understand depression. For every heartwarming relationship memory, I’ve known gut-wrenching heartbreak. For every success, I also recall the failures.

Our lives are not measured solely on the successes. Nor are they measured on the failures. Each piece of the puzzle has added a layer to our personality. Every triumph, every stumble. But each of these experiences is merely a stepping stone to the next. And the days, whether dark or light, that shall come to pass will be wiser steps to a brighter future.

Those were the best days of my life…

We are unique. Our experiences are shared, but different. Alike, but completely one of a kind. We empathize (or don’t).

I struggle. I have a hard time keeping it all together. Working a full time job. Commuting more than 10 hours a week. In total 55+ hours devoted to work. Looking for ways to progress my career, to learn more, to see more, to be MORE. Looking for a new home by buying a house and making it a home. Writing for me. Blogging, but also creating characters and stories, so that one day I may have that best-selling novel all writers hope to attain. Living a life that I can be proud of. Enjoying time with friends. Family. Experiencing things so that I can have something to write about.

I struggle, but I’m not alone. I’m surrounded by my family. My friends. You.

You make this blog worth writing. Because of you, I am here. And for that I thank you.

Do you agree? Do you think the present is full of the best days or is there another, more relevant time in your life that constitutes the best? Do you wish you could go back or are you always looking ahead?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Sometimes, I have the Most Interesting Life

When I was in my early twenties, I was obsessed with Carrie Bradshaw and Sex and the City. I wanted to be Carrie. I thought that I WAS Carrie.

I mean, of my group of college girlfriends, I was most likely to become a writer. I was the most broke and most in debt. And still I was a shopaholic. And I wore very bizarre style combinations that really…stood out.  Of course, I was also the most neurotic when it came to relationships, and I often screwed everything up with my neurosis.

I spent the first half of my twenties with my own real life Big, on and off; back and forth…except that other than our slight difference in age, he wasn’t Mr. Big. But he did make me bat shit crazy. And I did a lot of stupid shit that I’m not quite ready to admit. But I bordered on Carrie Bradshaw’s world of crazy.

Everytime Big and I broke up, I would watch through all six seasons of SATC…and I’d feel lost, then empowered, and then I’d miss him again. And then we’d get back together.

Until one day I realized…that Carrie was bat shit crazy. And it was at least partially her fault that she and Big never worked out the first several times. And it was her fault that she and Aiden never worked out. And the string of other dudes. She was neurotic.

I was neurotic.

And I was done.

Sometime after my 25th birthday (my quarter life crisis, which happened to be the same day the first SATC movie came out) I realized that I needed to break the cycle.

And I gave up on MY Big. And I gave up on Carrie. I haven’t watched an episode of the show since.

But the other day, I started thinking about where I am now and the really cool shit that I get to do as a writer. I am living the part of Carrie Bradshaw’s life that I wanted.

I’m a writer.
I get invited to amazing parties and events and interviews.
And I get to write about my life as I see it.

As Sandra Bullock once said, “Life doesn’t always turn out the way we plan.”

Sometimes, it’s way better.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

What? I’m Not Here Today? LIES!

Okay, maybe it’s not a complete lie. I’m guest posting over at It’s a Dome Life today! Lily has been hosting this beautiful Examining the Creative Mind Series, in which she asks several pages worth of questions about artists, their processes and their inspiration.

She’s brilliant I tell you.

So go read my guest post and send Lily some comment love. Because post hosts loooooove comments! And I might host a giveaway next month. And I might cry if you don’t. I’m not above bribery. Or threats.

If you’re stopping by from It’s a Dome Life, might I recommend the following favorite posts…

Adventures with The Bloggess

Because Search Terms Are Funny

Stormageddon: Dark Lord of All

The Tale of Olive Baby

Christmas Music

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Confession Friday: Sometimes I’m a Hot Mess. Sometime’s I’m Not.

Let me start by saying this: Anxiety Disorder is a fickle bitch. For me, it’s like I’m a complete contradiction of myself. Take that one time I met Jenny Lawson, for example.

Within two hours of freaking the fuck out when I met Jenny Lawson (Shaking hands, heart racing, rambling uncontrollably about nothing, and basically making a complete fool of myself, when all I wanted to do was impress her with my clever wit and overall adorable-ness…neither of which I was able to showcase), I went out to the bar where I proceeded to stand up in front of an entire bar full of people, and sing a song about masturbation without a second thought. (I’m kind of a karaoke nerd. For the record, I was singing the Divinyls’ “I Touch Myself,” loudly. Proudly, even.)

Why?

No, seriously. It doesn’t make any sense! I can make a fool of myself (ON PURPOSE) in front of a hundred strangers…but meeting one famous person sends me into a pile of incoherent goo. IN THE SAME NIGHT.

Karaoke Queen Karaoke Queen

Do you have any crazy quirks that make you question your sanity? Tell me, Blog Friends!

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Fiction Friday: The Power of a Child

This is the next in a series of short fiction pieces that all mesh together. Feel free to catch up with the previous installments or start here.

  1. Broken
  2. The Failure
  3. The Letters
  4. The Rock
  5. Wandering Thoughts
  6. Just Coffee

The Power of a Child

“I…have…to…I have to go, Jack. I’m sorry. I’m really really sorry.” Those words cut like a knife to his heart. She was leaving. She was just. Fucking. Leaving. She climbed into the car and drove away. Jack didn’t know if he’d ever see Mel again. He didn’t know what to do. He wanted to call her. To tell her that his heart was breaking. To tell her how his best friend just…vanished.

He had planned to kiss her. He was going to ask her to prom. And he knew he would say yes. They were like two peas in a pod. He was going to tell her he loved her. That he had always loved her. That he wanted to be with her. She was the one.

But she was gone.

He stood there. For a minute? An hour? A day? He couldn’t be sure. At some point he stumbled home, and crashed onto his bed, alone with his thoughts. I’m all alone. Alone in the world. No friends. No Mel. No one. I’m worthless. I’ll never find anyone else. Fuck this shit.

A bleak future paraded itself through Jack’s mind for days? hours? weeks? The thoughts proceeded to get darker and deeper, until those same worries, doubts, and fears became dangerous. Terrifying. A vision of a kitchen knife flashed in his eyes. The gun in his father’s safe. He could see it so clearly. An option. A way out. The idea laid itself out in his mind, so perfectly, that he could feel its potential release.

Jack opened his eyes, and for the first time, noticed his six-year-old sister, Leah, standing over him, gazing nervously.

“Jackie?”

He looked at her.

“Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.”

“You don’t look okay. You look sad. Do you want to watch Tangled? That makes me happy.”

He looked at Leah, with a half grimace, pulled her into his chest and hugged her. Jack took in the scent of his baby sister. Felt her warmth. Soaked up her love for him. Without question. Without knowing. Just. Love.

Love.

“Jackie, are you crying?” The sound of the little girl, her concern so blatant, brought him back to reality. He pulled away from her. Looked down at the little raggedy doll in her tiny hand. Gazed into her big blue eyes. Jack saw the fear. The worry. He knew that he needed this little girl more than ever before.

“Leah, can you get mom? Now?” She looked at him, as if she were trying to see what he was thinking, but not quite sure what to do with what she saw.

“OK.” The girl hopped off the bed and ran out of the room, shouting, “Mooooooom!!!!! Jackie needs you!”

**********************************************************************************

“Good morning, Jack. This is our fifteenth session. Can you tell me why you’re here?”

“Because I have had thoughts of taking my own life.”

“Good. And can you tell me the last time you had suicidal thoughts.”

“Two weeks ago.”

“Was that in our session?”

“Yes.”

“Do you remember what we talked about?”

“Melanie.”

“And did we talk about her the whole time?”

“No. We also talked about Leah. And my family. And how I was not alone in this.”

“That’s right, Jack. And is Melanie the reason for your thoughts?”

“No. She was a catalyst.”

“Her actions were a catalyst, Jack. Her actions.”

“Right. Her actions.”

“How are you feeling today?”

“I’m okay. Leah is in a school play today. I’m going to see it with my parents. They’re doing some musical play about a tiny Christmas tree. Then I’m going to meet my cousin Steve for lunch. I’ve got a full plate, and I’m looking forward to the day.”

“That’s great, Jack. Tell me again about the decision to ask for help.”

“Leah. I didn’t want her to lose her brother. She just kept looking at me with those big eyes. Like I mattered. She cares so much. She’s so young. And innocent. Melanie used to be like that when I met her. Sweet. Caring. I don’t know what happened to her. She makes me so fucking angry. Whenever I start thinking about her. I know I’m not alone, but she makes me want to scream. I can’t stop thinking about how pissed off I am. She left, like a fucking bitch. A scared little brat, who didn’t have the nerve to tell me what the hell was going on.”

“Jack. We were talking about Leah.”

“Oh. Right. Leah.”

**********************************************************************************

Fearless Fiction Femmes Fatales

The Fiction Prompt

The Ides of March — Your character is betrayed, hardcore, by a friend. The relationship is forever altered, “killing” a little piece inside, of our protagonist, yet empowering her/him despite the damage.Imagery, dialogue, movement…800-1500 words.

Go read some of my friends, the Fearless Fiction Femmes Fatales and their blogging/writing/fiction/awesomeness.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

How I Embarrassed Myself in Front of The Bloggess for a Good Cause (In 500 Words or Less) (with photos)

I’ll get to the point fast. The good cause? Katie’s impending 30th birthday. But the how I embarrassed myself part in 500 words or less? Here goes:

(Note: I’m speaking really fast in my mind, so I highly recommend that you read it equally as fast in your mind.)

So I was excited to meet Jenny Lawson, and I had a plan to get her to sign a book for Katie, my butter-churning sister from a past life who also happens to WRITE a BOOK blog. And through her book blog (which she began after I gave her a guest post on my blog when she was going by the pseudonym Penny, for like 5 minutes) I discovered Jenny’s book, Let’s Pretend this Never Happened, which I read and laughed hysterically at. Katie also was the instigator in directing me to The Bloggess’ Blog. And insisting that I comment and follow through to the other blogs from other people who comment. And thus began my whirlwind trip into a blogging community.

And so I practiced telling Jenny all about how Katie was my best friend ever. And how she wanted to be there. And how I was surprising her with the book. And basically rambled everything that I just wrote in the previous paragraph to poor Jenny. And of course, I said “hi” like 15 times. And I told her she was “fantastic” like 15 times. And apologized for being such a freak, because I was so nervous. And then I forgot to say anything witty. Or clever. Or adorable. Or intelligent, really. I didn’t even tell her about my best friend Ally, who was RIGHT THERE, pulling the camera/phone away from my shaking hand so that she could take pictures of me and Jenny.

The Bloggess Book Tour

Ally and I waiting for the arrival of The Bloggess

The Bloggess Book Tour

While we were waiting, Katie sent me this gem of a photo with the text: So sad that I’m not there! (She had NO IDEA I had a book to be signed for her!

The Bloggess Book Tour

Check out the sweet metal chicken reading a mini book!

The Bloggess Book Tour

She’s like, the most awesome person ever. I love her more now than I did before.

The Bloggess Book Tour

While waiting for my number (when Jenny would sign the books) I met the coolest people ever! I want that hair sooo bad! And the skirt. Apparently she wore the skirt the last time they met Jenny. How fun are they?

The Bloggess Book Tour

After I rambled about Katie for 5 minutes, AND showed the sad face text picture…she wrote this!

The Bloggess Book Tour

And then, just to show you how awesome Jenny is…she was all, “let’s pretend she’s here!” and put her arm around invisible Katie.

That Jenny Lawson is one cool chick. I’ve got more Adventures with The Bloggess posts to come.

So Blog Friends, have you ever been embarrassed in front of someone you admire?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Today is the Day All My Dreams Come True…OK, Maybe Not All of Them. Maybe Just One. But I’m EXCITED.

That title actually has nothing to do with this post. It was just necessary. Because today is the big day! The BLOGGESS. Is in. Chicago. Ish. But since I live in Chicago-ish, it works out mighty well. BECAUSE I’M GOING TO MEET HER TODAY! And I’ve got some out of town guests that I’m dragging to the reading. Because that’s how I roll.

As I mentioned on Monday, this whole week is dedicated to bloggers. And today. Today is a whole post. Dedicated to one blogger. Because she’s that awesome. And it’s perfectly fitting. You see, I found her blog through the comments section of The Bloggess (This is how I found a lot of the blogs I read, actually. You should try it, if you haven’t.) And then she became my very first non-real-life-fan/friend. And she’s one of my BBBs (Blogging Best Buddies). And she’s fantastic. And she sent me the coolest Christmas “card” ever. Because it was a card. And a magnet. AND A FREAKIN’ PAINTING!

This Blog Post is Dedicated to…

Lily from It’s a Dome Life

As previously mentioned, Lily was my first non-real-life-friend to find the blog, probably because I stalked her a little bit after I found her blog on The Bloggess. And it was the greatest day ever. Because she’s sweet as pie. And funny. And TALENTED. She turned her art into magnets. And told me that she was sending one with her Christmas card…

The art of Lillian Connelly magnet

The magnet, up close. Isn’t it AMAZING? You can’t buy this one on Etsy, but there are others…Go now and buy a magnet.

The art of Lillian Connelly on my fridge

This is where the magnet lives…on the side of my fridge. Where I keep all of the important stuff…you know…cards and invitations and things… 🙂

But Lily didn’t just send me a magnet. Nope. I had to go to the post office to pick up the package (this was before my mail lady was cool), and I kept thinking to myself, “This does not look like a magnet sized package.”

I couldn’t wait to get home to open the package…(are we seeing a pattern here?)…so there I was in the car and I discovered this beautiful watercolor of a sunset. (She calls it, “Sunset from the Driveway.”)

Sunset From the Driveway

Isn’t she talented?

Of course, it took me FOREVER to get a frame and put it on the wall…because I am a little crazy and take my sweet time making decisions. Plus it was Christmas time, and my apartment looked like Christmas threw up…so I waited. And finally, I found the right frame (for now, until I can custom frame it). And now it lives in our bedroom. The first art in our home.

Sunset From the Driveway by Lillian Connelly

We wake up to a sunset every morning. How cool is that?

Thank you Lily. For your talent. For inspiring me. For being my friend. You’re amazing.

And to everyone else: Go check out Lily’s blog and her art.

Blog Friends: Are you a blogger? Tell me about your blog. Or do you have a favorite blogger? Tell me about him or her. What makes his/her blog awesome?

 

 

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Fiction Friday: Wandering Thoughts

I apologize profusely for skipping out on Fiction last week. Things were a little on the crazy side, so I thought something fun and lighthearted would be appreciated in the spirit of creative writing.

In case you don’t remember, I’ve been writing fiction since January, with the Fearless Fiction Femmes Fatales, and each week, we’re given a prompt. The last two pieces I wrote were for Project Fairy Tale, and so they were two parts of my own Rumpelstiltskin story. Prior to that, I had been weaving a web of drama with Jack and Mel and Claire. These are short blurbs of fiction, so if you’d like to catch up, I’ve listed the pieces below.

  1. Broken
  2. The Failure
  3. The Letters
  4. The Rock

Wandering Thoughts

Giddy. That was the only way that she could describe her feelings when she was around him.  At first. Ben was a breath of fresh air after a long hot drought. He was smart, funny, and incredibly gorgeous. Mel could barely remember how it started. She just knew that she was glad it had. Their relationship had progressed rapidly. After a series of non-dates, they became inseparable. She knew that this was it. He was the guy.

They weren’t living together, but he spent 5-6 nights a week in her apartment on Lake Avenue. He had certainly marked his territory. She looked around the bedroom, noting some of his clothes hanging in her closet, his toothbrush peeking on the sink peeking out the bathroom door, his guitar on the chaise by the window, and finally landed her gaze on him, asleep in her bed. Yep, he’s definitely made his mark. She leaned down and kissed his sleeping forehead. I think he loves me.

**********************************************************************************

Mel sat in her living room, waiting for Ben. He had said he was closing his restaurant, but he would stop by to see her after. At midnight, she started to get that panicky feeling. Why hasn’t he called? The restaurant closed at 10. He should be here by now. She glared at the clock as the minutes ticked by. The background noise of the TV could not distract her from the wandering thoughts.

He used to bring me flowers. He used to compliment me and tell me I was beautiful. We used to go out… He used to call me when he would be just a few minutes late. Now he’s…

She started to think about it and scolded herself internally, You’re beyond that part of a relationship, MEL. This is what happens. It’s not as magical. It’s life. Life’s not a fucking fairy tale. He’ll bring you flowers for special occasions, just not to “woo” you. He’s already got you. You’re his.

Right. Right. She tried to agree with herself, but she just kept wondering, what if he wants to leave me? What if he’s cheating on me? What if something happens?

MELANIE JANE MCDANIELS. She screamed at the thoughts deep in her mind. Relax. You always over-analyze EVERYTHING. It’s because you love him. You’re afraid that if you love him, he’ll leave you. RE-fucking-LAX. Do you want to live alone for the rest of your life? No friends. No love. Completely alone? Maybe a few cats? Just go with it.

Mel texted him, asking what his ETA was. 20 minutes later, he responded, “I’m on my way, Cupcake.” Her heart lifted. She knew it was silly, but she loved that he called her, Cupcake. The way it rolled off his tongue made her melt, and even though it was a text, Mel could hear the sound of it in her mind. She stared at the phone, then at the clock, then the door. He’ll be here. He loves me too. It’ll be great.

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I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to start over. I love him. I love Ben. I do. And he loves me. Mel’s thoughts were starting to sound less and less convincing, even to herself. He loves me. I’ll never find someone else who loves me like Ben does.

The internal argument began again, But does he really love you? You work a few blocks away from each other. You live in the same city. And yet, you only see him a couple nights a week?

We’re both busy. We have restaurants to run. He texts me. He calls me. We talk.

Yeah, for like 5 minutes.

“Stop it!” She found herself yelling out loud, her assistant manager staring at her blankly. Suddenly, she was back at work, cell phone in hand, staring at it.

“You okay, boss?”

“I’m fine, Jessica. Sorry, I didn’t mean to yell at you. I just mean…um…stop…um…”

Jessica looked at her strangely. “Maybe you should go splash some cool water on your face. You look like you’re about to cry.” Jess was the closest thing she had to a friend here, other than Ben. But she was her employee…so Mel had trouble confiding in her.

“Thanks, I think I will.” Mel made her way to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. Black splotches under her reddened eyes. She barely recognized herself. She turned the faucet on and pushed the cool water into her face. Draining. Ben is draining me. Maybe I should…

No. Stop. He loves you. You love him. You do. Remember what dating was like? You’re never going to find someone like Ben. You understand him. He loves that about you. He’s handsome and smart. The other day, remember? Oh! What did he do? It was so funny. He makes you laugh. He makes you happy.

Yeah, when he’s around. If only he would just…call me. I just need to see him. That’s it. It’ll all be okay if I just see him. Maybe he’ll come over tonight. Jess is closing the restaurant, so I can go home…shower…get ready…maybe I’ll surprise him.

Keep telling yourself that. See where it gets you. Maybe you should go buy the first cat now. After drying her face, she looked at herself once more in the mirror. She put on a big fake smile, and walked out the bathroom door.

When she returned to the hostess stand, her phone vibrated. She pulled it out of her pocket and looked at the incoming text. “Sneak away with me for dinner, Cupcake?” A smile spread across her face. See, self, he still loves me.

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Fearless Fiction Femmes FatalesNow go on and check out my partners in crime, the Fearless Fiction Femmes Fatales. Some are writing fiction this week. Some are taking a break. But all are worth your time. Go visit their blogs! And PLEASE take a moment to visit DeBie Hive, because she’s posting about cutting her hair off for cancer. And as we all know, cancer sucks.

The Fiction Writing Prompt

Stuck in a Rut
March is green, but winter still comprises 2/3 of the month. Spring is not until the tail end. So this prompt ensures our character is stuck in a (metaphorical or literal, you decide) muddy rut: frozen in a place that despite all his/her inner urgings, s/he can’t move forward or look backward.
Why?

 

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