Month: December 2010

Memories of another time

Sometimes the best things in life are accidental.

I remember 8-counts, dizzying pirouettes on the dusty cafeteria floor, and waiting with my heart beating in my ears. I remember the shock of hearing my number called. I remember being annoyed with my friend for backing out, and then not caring when I realized she had inadvertently done me a favor.

I remember that tickling sensation in my empty stomach every time I stood in the wings. I remember the bright lights of the stage. I remember all the faces in the bleachers. I remember the cold air against my skin as I listened for the music. I remember the damp grass, the scratchy Astroturf, and tense fingers gripping my shoulders during kick line.

I remember the first time I had to change clothes in a locker room with forty other girls. I remember wishing I knew more of them. I remember the relief of finding two best friends, and the safety of our corner. I remember the loud laughter, the dirty jokes, and the high, girlish shrieks. I remember sharing bobby pins and eye shadow. I remember the smell of perfume sprayed above our heads, and the stench of sweat after long hours of practice.

I remember jealousy, insecurity, admiration, exhilaration. I remember crying after being told I wasn’t good enough. I remember telling my friend not to bother, when she offered to help. And I remember changing my mind, deciding that I had to try again, even if I failed again, because giving up was worse than not succeeding. I remember my second chance, and I remember my redemption.

I don’t dance much anymore, but I remember.

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Musical motivation

Can I be honest with you guys? Between a bunch of to-dos at work, the craziness of the holidays, and my lame attempts to get back into good reading/writing habits, I have been at a complete loss for what to blog. I don’t want to disappear, but I also don’t want to post just for the sake of posting. There’s enough on the web with or without my couple hundred words, you know?

So if it seems a little quieter around here (particularly on Fridays, which a few people already noticed…) that’s why.

Today I do have something to share, though.

Music.

Specifically, songs that get me amped up and dreaming about my future. Songs that fan the flames of my desire and motivation. Songs that I look forward to blasting from my car stereo a few years from now, when I’m driving to the premiere of my book’s film adaptation, my name is on bestseller lists around the world, and fans are clamoring for the next title.

(Hey, I said these songs made me dream, all right?)

Now, you might laugh, because some of these songs are majorly cheesy, and some of these songs are wannabe ghetto, but I already know that I have questionable taste in music. Just go with it.

In no particular order:

Note: I don’t necessarily listen to these songs while I’m writing. They just get me emotionally pumped up. Becoming an author (like most dreams/aspirations) is a marathon, not a sprint. This kind of music helps set the rhythm, reminds my feet to keep going one after the other at a steady pace, so that someday I will cross the finish line.

Do you have “pump me up” songs? Or something else besides music that gets you jazzed up for the long haul?

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Holiday special

First, I don’t consider myself an “indie author.” That’s what a lot of self-published and self-e-published writers call themselves, and it’s a great term. But I would feel like an imposter if I called myself one. I’m still working on my “real” novels, and searching for an agent, and aiming for the traditional editor/publishing house route.

That said, I have technically self-published. I put both my short story “The Eraser” and my web serial Twenty-Somewhere for sale online. To me it was a harmless experiment (not an attempt to find a shortcut to success or to circumvent the publishing system, like some people assume).

But will agents and editors see it that way? I don’t know. Honestly, I sometimes worry that my experiment may have “ruined” me. Despite a few standout success stories, self-publishing still carries a stigma, and I might have dipped my toe into that pond by accident. (I really hope I’m wrong, though, because I can’t exactly undo it now…)

Rather than let that little uncertainty snowball into true fear or anxiety, I’d like to make sure something positive comes out of this. So, for the month of December, I’m going to donate all proceeds from my online sales to the It Gets Better Project. That means 100% of the money that would normally go to me? Will go to suicide prevention services and anti-bullying efforts instead.

Why? Because hearing about teens (foreign, gay, awkward, whatever) who have fallen — no, who have been pushed — so low that they think it would be better to give up and get out of this world than to live? It breaks my heart and brings me to tears just typing that.

The issue hurts and compels me so much that I’ve already started planning a new novel to address it. But even if I could magically finish and sell that book tomorrow, it wouldn’t get to shelves for a year or more. This is something I can do now. This is something I can do because I’m (sort of) an indie author. Maybe my experiment gave me a black mark, maybe it didn’t — but it definitely does give me the flexibility to decide where my (modest) profits go this holiday season. And that, I think, is something to treasure.

Twenty-Somewhere is available via Amazon, the iTunes bookstore, and Smashwords
“The Eraser” is available via Amazon

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