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Residency Log: Day Four

We’ve mostly had the day to ourselves today. There was the option to go on the Tahoe Excursion to go into the city and do some ice skating and such. We decided to hole up in a classroom in the library and get some work done.

It’s always nice to help other bounce ideas around for their work and getting the chance to work on my own things without the feeling of being rushed because I only have a certain amount of time to do it before I have class again was nice. I’m still incredibly tired and ready to go back to sleeping on my own bed.

We also had meetings with our mentors today. Since my mentor isn’t technically hired by the school yet (paperwork troubles), I met with my “department” head and he lined things out for me and answered basic questions. We’re then going to call my actual mentor on Tuesday to discuss our semester plan.

I’m both ready for this semester and also not. I just can’t believe this is my final semester and I’ll be graduating come August.

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Residency Log: Day Three

If the morning starts with freaking out your roommate cause of your meditation, can it really get any better than that?

No, not really.

It’s been a rough one. I hit my wall early today and things have not been going great. There’s so much to do that I run out of spoons by lunch time and I feel terrible for not being able to attend some readings. But I’ve burnt myself out before and I can’t really afford to do that again, not with this being my final semester.

I really do love the community though. The WCYA tribe are some of the coolest, awesome-est people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. They’re all so skilled and awesome in their own ways and I love them. They make the residency worth it.

I can’t wait to see how their careers as writers turns out. I know every single one of them is going to be amazing at whatever they try to do. All of them.

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Residency Log: Day Two

While the east coast is being slammed with a crazy snow storm, I’m over here in Lake Tahoe, where it’s sunny and 40 degrees. It’s not necessarily warm, but at least we’re not under two feet of snow, so I call that a lucky break.

I’m still ridiculously exhausted. Last night, I passed out at like 7:30. Out like a light and down for the count until like 4 or 5 the next morning. But I’m still hitting a wall in the mid to late afternoon and all I need is a nap.

My brain is a little fuzzy today, and I haven’t been able to focus on much, especially not writing. My lit crit class might break that a little, since it’s such an intense class, but I’d like to start meditation this week to free up my brain. I’m an incredibly great adult on the west coast, only cause I can wake up at 6 am no problem here. So in that time frame between showering and leaving for breakfast, I might benefit from a twenty minute meditation in the morning during sunrise.

Blogging

Residency: Day One

It’s the first day of classes at my residency and I’ve only cried twice! (Once was cause I got sweet puppy kisses from Casey, the WCYA service dog)

The piece I had wanted to use as my thesis might not be my thesis. I’m working with my previous mentor’s editor this coming semester, a woman who’s really cool and awesome and I’m only a little intimidated

But it’s been so nice seeing everyone from the tribe and I know this residency is going to be good for me in a lot of different ways. Mental health wise, it’s going to be walking a fine line. But in terms of my writing, I already feel motivated to finish an old draft, despite having been burnt out by this piece a month ago.

I have a lot to rework in the piece that will probably end up being my thesis. It sucks that the story of my heart won’t be the thing I want to present to the world first, but it needs more time. I need to find the best story in this world that means so much to me and right now, I might not have it.

Book Reviews · Reviews

Truly Devious ★★★★★

35008814Maureen Johnson has broken my heart in the past (I’m looking at you, Shades of London) and Truly Devious was no different.

Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

Maureen Johnson hooked little Maggie’s heart with 13 Little Blue Envelopes when I was just starting to get into the YA age group. Then I fell in love with her Shades of London series when I started using Audible on my commutes to school. And now, Truly Devious has hooked it’s claws into my heart.

Maureen has a stellar command of mystery and magic, of tossing in a twist at juuuuust the right moment to keep you reading way past your bedtime. The choice to intersperse snippets from the 1936 mystery surrounding Truly Devious and the Ellingham murders never felt intrusive. Whenever those pieces came up in the narrative, I never felt annoyed or cheated out of Stevie’s story, which was set in the modern day. In fact, I enjoyed getting snippets of interviews between the detective and the suspects and chapters following Albert Ellingham. It informed my reading and built a richer story.

Beyond that, I loved Stevie. She was clever, witty, a bit of an outcast and her anxiety spoke true to my heart. Not only that, but the queer representation was stellar itself. It never felt like it was there for “Diversity Points” but rather it felt like a natural part of the world, which as it turns out, is exactly like our real world. Shocker, I know.

Truly Devious was another great read from a favorite author of mine and it’s got its claws hooked directly into my heart. I honestly can’t wait for the rest of the series!

Truly Devious releases on January 16th, 2018.