I'm Just Saying

The Way It Is

I have a secret love in my heart for William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. I wish I didn’t sound like such a typical woman admitting that, but I suppose that’s just the way it has to be.

balconyThe sad thing about Romeo and Juliet is how overdone it is. Pure and simple, everything about that play is overdone. The play is overperformed, there have been far too many movie adaptations, and the discussions surrounding it are also over much. Simply put, everything coming out of this play is just a little bit extra.

Which shouldn’t be surprising considering the fact that it’s about two people who would rather die than be without one another.

If you’re a human alive in this world, you know the story of Romeo and Juliet. And you also know everything that has been said about it. I believe that the most popular thing to say about this is: that’s just hormones.

Well. Okay then.

I’m sorry, but I’ve never bought this argument and I never will. I don’t really care how old Romeo or Juliet are supposed to be. Never have. Never will. Call me crazy, but I’ve just always looked at the play as a rather tragic love story. Kind of how Shakespeare wrote it. Shocker.

You can also attribute the reconciliation of a terrible feud to hormones, too. Probably.

A few years I ago I saw this play again, and even though I’ve always loved it, for some reason this particular time it really struck me. I mean, it really, really struck me. And I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I couldn’t fathom it, really.

Love.

They loved each other so much. They really, truly did. So much that everything they had always been taught or told didn’t matter because they had found their other half. And they were willing to throw everything away for that. Both of them had very bright futures within their families and sphere of influence.

I remember getting to the end and just crying.infinite love

And in my prayers later that I night, I was talking to God about it. And, bless His heart, I just sat there and cried some more. I remember praying about this story, about these characters. Even though it isn’t real. The lessons are incredibly powerful. I remember praying and asking that one day I’d be able to know what it was like to love that way.

A bold choice of words, coming from somebody who already feels things very deeply.

(Like super deeply. You guys don’t even know. It’s exhausting most days. There are so many times when I just want to look myself in the eye and be like, “Okay. If you could not feel so many feelings ALL. THE. TIME at this insane intensity that’d be great.” Unfortunately, I have a red hot don’t-tell-me-what-to-do streak and it also applies to myself. I’m working on that, though.) Looking back on it now I’m not altogether sure I really thought that one through. But hey, that’s life sometimes.

But I digress.

This last week I’ve had two very powerful moments that keep resurfacing in my thoughts. Both of them are just statements that really touched my heart. And I think the point of this whole post is to make sense of them. So bear with me.

The first was a statement from a book I finished reading this week. Now I have read this book at least 800 times. In fact, I’ve read this book so much that I can skip around and find all my favorite parts. I’ve read this book so much that I know the story as well as if I’d written it myself. I’ve read this book a lot. That’s all I’m saying.

But as I was rereading it this week, a phrase I had never noticed before hit me in the face.

second balconyThe main character is talking about the man that she loves. They have a very unique bond. One that surpasses your typical love story. Because all of the forces in the universe try and pull them apart. Literally, everything is working against them and both of them know that no matter what, even if they were to never see one another again, they belong to one another. That they were made for one another.

It is suggested to the main character several times that she ought to move on and forget him, to find somebody else and try and live as happily as she can. And in the course of these conversations she finally says something like:

Once you give your heart, you never get it back. Once given, it is gone forever.

The other phrase was something that my older sister said to me. I’ve been staying with her, her husband, and their two toddlers this week, helping out with the wheat harvest. Now my sister and her husband are an interesting story because on paper they shouldn’t work. But they do. Good grief, they are so perfect for each other it can be a little painful. Honestly. She was talking to me about it the other day as we drove through town, and she said,

We were just supposed to be together. We were meant for one another. That’s just the way it is.

And that is the truth. A lot of things were combining against them, and somehow they still pulled through. There was a moment when it got hard and they ended things. I don’t know the full story but I remember my brother-in-law said something like, “I just don’t know if I can be the man you deserve.” His past was haunting him, and he didn’t know if he could do it.

Obviously, things worked out because they are married now and have two beautiful boys. I think after a while he finally came back to her and said, “I know what kind of man you deserve and I know that with your help I can be that man. I’m a better me when I’m with you.” So they got back together and pushed through the unknowns and the past hurts as a team. And today they are the best example of a beautiful marriage that I’ve ever seen.

It’s so beautiful that it brings tears to my eyes.

The reason I began this post with all my thoughts about Romeo and Juliet is that I think it never did run smoothillustrates these two ideas. They knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that they belonged together. They were meant for one another. Once they had truly given their heart they weren’t going to get it back. But then again Shakespeare also wrote, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream: the course of true love never did run smooth.

The tragedy of their love story lies in the fact that it took their death for love to win. I think it illustrates an absolutely beautiful point and was probably written to do so. It shouldn’t have taken that much for love to heal.

But at the same time, love like that isn’t easily found or given or maintained. Just like my brother-in-law realized, it can be really hard. And far too often a lot of painful factors get in the way and it can seem hopeless. But as he also realized, that type of love is also worth it.

That’s just the way it is.

 

I'm Just Saying

Just Revise, Please

I have an announcement to make. Everybody stand back and listen:

This week I finished my novel.

It is done. It is finished. I have finished it. One year after beginning it, this novel is finally done. I have had this story in my head for over a year now and this week I finished writing it.

It has been a very long time since I finished writing a novel, and I forgot how amazing it feels. I forgot how crazy it is to plan a part of a novel and then be actually able to write that part of the novel.

The end of this novel is like a bomb. Seriously. Everything just falls apart real quick. Seriously. It gets put back together fairly quickly, but the falling apart part is absolutely crazy. For a year I’ve been worried about writing these parts.

There are two parts in particular where my main character just kind of runs into a wall of reality. And the thing about writing things like this, at least for me, is that there doesn’t need to be a lot of fluff. It just happens. Kind of like running into a wall would actually feel.

I’ve been wondering about these two parts of the novel for the last year and hoping that when it was finally time to write them that I’d be able to convey everything all of the characters were feeling. I think I was able to do well. I feel quite confident about the project as a whole.

One thing that I really wanted to do for this book is eliminate unnecessary things. So if something did not directly contribute to the plot I did not include it in the story. Imagery is something I love in my novels, and is one of my strong suits as a writer.

But since I know it is something I’m better at I also know that I tend to get carried away with it. So it was actually really refreshing to write this book and keep reminding myself not to get carried away with things that didn’t need to be there.

As a result, it feels very bam-bam-bam to me. I can’t really think of another way to put it. But another reason I did this is because my main character has a lot of these similar traits. She’s very honest, very straightforward, and doesn’t like to deal with things she feels don’t matter. So naturally, it seemed like a novel from her perspective would follow the same type of pattern.

But when you finish a novel, there is always one glaring question:

What now????

Well, obviously I’ve been tweaking it like crazy. Something happens to me when I’m finishing a novel where I finish the last chunk in record time. I think I wrote seven or eight chapters in two days or something insane like that. All of it is just fighting to get out of my head and so I just write like…I’m running out of time. (I would’ve been struck been lightning if I hadn’t used a Hamilton reference right there. If you know Hamilton you’ll understand. Also, if you do know Hamilton let’s talk and be best friends, if you don’t I’m sorry.)

So because I wrote a huge chunk of my novel in record time revising has definitely been a thing. There have been quite a few moments of, “Oh! I forgot to write this one thing!” Actually, the other night something really incredible happened to me. At 3 a.m awoke very suddenly and realized something I’d forgotten and had to fix it then and there. For reasons I’ll never be able to explain I’ve always wanted that to happen to me. It finally did.

The thought of rewriting this novel it makes me want to cry. It doesn’t matter that this is actually a thing serious writers do. In my head, I’m finished with it so rewriting isn’t even real. Heavy, heavy editing, moving around, rewriting parts, yes. But actually starting all over? How does one actually do that?

To all of you writers who actually rewrite your novels from scratch, I salute you.

If you need me I’ll be revising.

Just Writing

Clock Like

Clock Like

Looking at the clock
For months on end
Waiting for it to stop
Just waiting

Dreading it so much
Hardly able to think
Would there be touch?
How many tears?

Then came the night
The clock finally stopped
Beside bright car lights
That moment

Beautiful, when it came
More so than I thought
A memory in a frame
So precious

Books and smells
Talking and reading
Laughter can tell
All of the story

Funnier than I thought
The moment at the end
A moment so caught
By friendly eyes

It ached, you know,
More than I imagined
I held the tears close
Until the clock began again

It is much different now
A different kind of waiting
More subtle, anyhow,
Than I expected

So long since words
Came from me in poems
Somewhat like birds
Singing the veiled stories

I wish I knew how to say
All the things it was
That moment at end of day
But I cannot

For it was both beautiful and unfinished
Like a clock

 

I'm Just Saying

Be Grateful

be gratefulFor a brief moment today, I want to talk about gratitude. I don’t know about you, but I can personally say that I do not stop and look around often enough. I do not take into account my blessings often enough. It can be so easy to get lost in the day to day stuff that covers us, that we often forget to just be grateful for all the wonderful things that we have.

Because let me tell you, despite struggles or insecurities or confusion or tragedy, there is so much to be grateful for.

When I was a teenager, I decided one year that I was going to keep a gratitude journal. Every single day from January 1 to December 31 I wrote in a journal every night, one thing that I was grateful for that day. I can honestly say that sometimes it was hard, and sometimes it felt mundane, but overall it is something that I am so, so glad that I did.

So, today, I would just like to share with all of you a few things that I am grateful for:

  • Family. I have a spectacular family with a horde of nieces and nephews that I get to help raise. I have no idea where I would be without them.
  • Books. For as long as I can remember, books have been a sanctuary and a teacher. They have shaped my life and will continue to do so.
  • Friends. I have absolutely incredible friends, people that love and support me through thick and thin, even when I’m being completely unreasonable. contemplate
  • Learning. I have always loved to learn. True, school is feeling pretty tedious right now, in the heat of summer, but education is something that I completely value and love so much.
  • Pizza. Let’s face it, pizza is the best food in the world. Just admit it.

Like I said, these are just a few things that I’m grateful for. There are so many more that I wish I had centuries to list.

Today I just want to invite you to think of the things you’re grateful for. And don’t just acknowledge it yourself, tell the people in your life that you are grateful for them. Tell them you appreciate them.

Be grateful.

For Laughs · I'm Just Saying

Logical Stories

typeWhen a story first comes to me, it is an incredibly exciting feeling. It’s almost as though somebody is singling me out – find me specifically to tell their story. I start getting all giddy, feeling it all come to me. It’s almost like watching a movie. But in this magical system there is very often a glitch.

Most of the time I only know half of the story.

Seriously, I’ll come up with this fantastic plot line, be thinking about it, imagining it all and then…nothing. My mind goes black. And I find myself sitting here with half of a story. And so then I sit down and try to be logical – which is in itself a story – and think things like: Okay, what would happen next? If this were real, what would logically occur after this?

Sometimes this logical approach works, other times it doesn’t.

Let me tell you, it is extremely hard to write a novel when you only have half a plot line. I mean, I’ve done it before, but what ends up happening is you just keep writing things until the story just kind of forms itself without you. I guess it’s a kind of adventure this way, however this spontaneity means I’ve never, in all the years I’ve wanted to be a writer, sat down and actually planned out a novel. It’s always been something along these lines: Event, tiny I-don’t-knows, Event, tiny I-don’t-knows, Event, tiny I-don’t-knows, LIMBO.

The problem is that it has never bothered me until now. Now, when I want so badly to be half finishedserious about my writing and have some form of a plan. I think of plot lines and don’t even know where to go or what to do. It’s all a little hazy.

This series of events has led me to the possibility of to conclusions: I must either break through this wall and establish a new way of writing, or I must go back to what was already working and stop worrying so much.

I’ve yet to come to any sort of conclusion. Naturally.

Because we all just realized that the reason this happens in my novels is because it happens to me daily.

And this post has escalated very quickly into headache material.

You are now acquainted with my life as a writer.

I'm Just Saying

Featuring: Pippin

descriptionSo far, Feature Fridays have been an interesting journey for us. When I began Feature Fridays I just assumed that I’d always be featuring different people who have had some kind of impact in my life: whether they were historical figures or the people I talk to every day. Last Friday, however, I ended up featuring my love of music. That was so fun!

So today, say hello to Peregrin Took!

More commonly known as the character Pippin from The Lord of the Rings  by J.R.R Tolkien.

After much deliberation on who to feature today, this seemed almost glaringly obvious. The Lord of the Rings were the first books that I completely fell in love with. For as long as I can remember, my inner child’s heart has belonged to Middle Earth. And given this extensive history, I can totally say that Pippin has long held my heart as one of the best characters in the story. intelligence

Now, trust me, I could probably go on and on about Merry and Pippin and their amazingness. Let’s not even dream of what this whole story would be without them. But the simple reason that I’ve decided to feature Pippin today is because I feel that, as whole, he is the character that grows the most throughout the story.

In the beginning he is this childlike person always getting into trouble, and by the end he is instrumental in the defense of Gondor. Pippin’s growth and character development is one that takes longer than others. He seems to have to learn the difficult way in order to “grow up”. But what is so endearing about Pippin, what makes him a truly wonderful character worthy of study, his is heart.

weapon of choiceHe makes mistakes just like all of us do, but he never gives up trying to do the right thing. Even when the whole world turns against him, even when he is afraid, he does all he can to prove himself and make things right again. There is a moment in Pippin’s story when he is basically alone, when he must decide for himself, by himself, what he is going to do. But even in this incredible development and growth, you never lose that signature playfulness and love of life that makes Pippin who he is.

Pippin is, simply put, incredible.

Just Writing

Get Out Of The Way!!

roadToday I stumbled across the most ridiculous, amazing, crazy, and wonderful realization ever. It has to do with my writing.

I’ve always just been able to write. Every time I wanted to write something it just came. I never had to write outlines, I never had to brainstorm, I never had to think too hard about it. The stories just came.

The older I got, the harder it was for me to write. This bothered me, but mostly I tried to ignore it. The stories weren’t flowing out of me as freely anymore, I started to worry that my talent was slipping away.

And today I realized why. I work in a book store. Today an older gentleman came in to buy some Christmas cards and I was helping him check out he said to me, “Do you have journals here?”

“Yes!” I replied enthusiastically, because our journals section is literally to die for and has gotten me into trouble on numerous occasions. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who has about 200 journals they need to write in?) I showed him where they were and he said something that struck me.

“My granddaughter is a writer and I just think she’d really enjoy that! She just loves to get out there and write!”

And I realized what has been standing in my way the past couple of years.

ME.

I have been standing in my own way. I’ve been so busy thinking about visiblewriting that I haven’t actually given myself the freedom to sit down and write. I’ve worried so much about my writing developing, what I’ll do with a book once I’ve finished it, and everything else that it has totally stopped up the writing process for me. Writing used to be therapeutic. Something that I had to do to stay sane, something that brought me to my core and helped me feel wonderful.

And then I got in my own way. Like I said, I started thinking about writing so much that I forgot to just…write. I forgot that if I’ve got talent, whether it’s a thimble full or a mountain of it, I’ve got to let that be my guide. My writing will naturally develop because I am developing as a person. The things I’ve gotten so caught up in aren’t really that big of a deal.

So, there is the summary. Get out of your own way!

Just. WRITE.