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.


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.


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.


2018 Resolutions

There are a lot of things I’d like to get accomplished this year. Some are pretty far reaching, but some I think I can handle. Then again, if there’s some heavy depression sessions in my future, who knows. Every step is taken one day at a time.

Writing Goals

I’m looking to finish my YA Fantasy (which is in it’s tenth draft and featuring an all new rewrite) by the end of March. Ideally, I’d have most of it done before the start of the semester (which is in like, two weeks!) so that when I end up working with an editor, I have most of the draft done.

I’d also like to have aforementioned YA Fantasy polished and ready to query by graduation (!!!).

Reading Goals

Fifty books. That’s my minimum for the year; and I don’t mean like the fifty I do for a semester where some of it’s plumped up with picture books. I mean fifty YA books. Majority written by women, especially women of color and queer women, preferably.

School Goals

Try not to break down while writing my thesis.

Oh, also write a thesis.

Oh, and graduate as part of the first WCYA class from SNC. But that’s practically a given so long as I manage the others on this list.

Oh, and make Pablo cry at my graduation.

Personal Life Goals

Start running again. I won’t say that I liked running (cause I’d be a dirty, dirty liar) but I enjoyed the movement of it. I usually had better days when I ran.

Find a therapist and work on my mental health.

Love myself a little more, when I can.

All in all, I think it’s a pretty robust list, and these are things I think would make for a better me. I’ve struggled with my self image and self love for a very long time, so maybe having this as a reference point, something to look back on during the next year, would be beneficial.

One step a day at a time is still progress.