Earlier this week, I was writing in a cafe about an hour before my work day started. In my early-morning haze, I remembered suddenly that there was a free event in the city about food and urban public health policy. It was a breakfast event, it would have been over before I started my work day, one of my favorite food heroes was a featured guest, and it was free.

And I missed the event.

As I was writing in my journal in this cafe near the office, I gradually realized I was passing up something that could be potentially important, maybe even a turning point for my life. I very rarely get moments like this, where I realize that I’m missing something important. I had a weird feeling of precognition, and it sent a shiver down my spine.

And still, I missed the event.

divination

If I were reading this in a work of fiction, I would be screaming at the main character to take that chance, goddammit, because there were so many hints dropped throughout past chapters indicating that she’s missing a Big F*cking Deal at that Ultra Important Event, and why isn’t she taking that Super Spontaneous Risk?

But you know, being the main character in my own life can be really exhausting. Cut me some slack, alright?

I’m still working on getting myself to take risks. I’m still working on being bolder. I’m still working on reacting quickly to opportunities. I’m still working on a lot of things. And even though I let something of this magnitude slip through my fingers so easily, I can’t get tangled up in the shame and the regret of missing it.

Also, sometimes I get these things wrong.

Tuesday I went to work, and had a busy but, I think, successful day. Wednesday, I went to work and had another busy but successful day. Today, I had a busy but, I think overall successful day. And I forgot about the event entirely until this evening, when I looked through my journal for blog ideas and started writing this blog post.

I can’t know how things would have been different if I hopped back on the train and went to that event. I only know how things have gone these past few days since making the decision to stay in that cafe to write until I started my work day.

And you know what? I’m alright with the course of events.

This post was in response to today’s Daily Post Prompt: Shiver. Check out more responses below!

To the 46 notebooks I’ve filled in the past seven years:

You’re awesome. You’re all different shapes and sizes, with varying paper quality, sheet quantity, and line style. You’re all unique in your contents, and when I flip through your pages, I feel like I can see so much that I didn’t before, when I initially wrote those poems or sketched those trees.

Through the years I’ve changed my journaling style, went from only filling one page a day, to madly dashing through the pages like I was in a race to the finish, to my current style of writing when I need to. (I always feel like I need to.) And you’ve been there for me, with empty space for me to fill as I see fit. The lines are merely suggestions. I can follow them, or break the rules.

Thanks for being the fuel for my defiance. Thanks for smelling like home. Thanks for that satisfying crinkling noise when I flip through filled pages. Thanks for feeling like infinity when I turn them. Thanks for putting up with coffee mugs, with ink that bleeds, with being in backpacks that weren’t waterproof (especially since I always forget to bring my umbrella). Thanks for not judging me when I change my handwriting daily. Thanks for always being within arm’s reach.

Also, thanks for never being possessed by evil wizards.

harry diary

Here’s to 46 notebooks and seven years. I’m looking forward to the years and notebooks to come.

This post was written in response to the Daily Post’s Discover Challenge: Designed for You. Check out more responses below!

I always try and keep one slightly odd item in my bag at all times, on the off chance that I’ll be randomly asked to play the “What’s in your bag?” game when I’m out and about. It’s purely a conversation starter, to have something interesting to talk about, like, “Oh, you have a planner, a pencil case, your laptop, and a — is that a mini gavel?

(Just using that for example’s sake; I don’t actually own a mini gavel.)

(But if I did, this would be my reason for it:

keeps away the nargles)

In the past, items have included:

  • a card game called Love Letter
  • an origami dragon
  • origami paper
  • a Lego piece
  • a film camera without any film
  • a souvenir spoon from New Zealand
  • a rosary made from a bit of rope
  • a worn pack of playing cards

I recently got a new backpack and migrated my necessities into it, but haven’t yet come up with a new weird thing to put in it. The items I have in my bag right now include:

  • my planner
  • a notebook for work
  • my journal
  • my pen case
  • my laptop and charger
  • my waterbottle
  • a fountain pen calligraphy starter set

…Looking at that last item I realize that I’ve probably been carrying around my slightly odd item without realizing it. It’s funny how these things sneak up on you.

This blog post was written in response to this week’s Discover Challenge: The Poetry of List-Making. Check out more responses below!

In the list of tweets I’ve tweeted recently:

I’m not sure how well I’m doing at keeping cool on the outside, but I fervently believe in the general philosophy that I should “Fake it ’til I make it.” At some point I’ll be genuinely placid.

In a letter that I have yet to send to a friend, I wrote that I feel like I’ve been screaming in my head non-stop since May. After the writing frenzy that was April, I feel like everything that I had been putting on hold during the month suddenly came rushing in. I turned 24. I came out to my parents as bisexual and polyamorous. (And that’s a whole saga I have yet to write about.) I changed jobs. I did another Camp NaNoWriMo event.

It’s now nearly the middle of August and I still feel like I’m constantly shouting. It’s an invigorating kind of shouting, but shouting nonetheless.

But as long as no one can tell, then I’ll call that a win.

This post was in response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: Surface. Check out more responses below!

I’ve been busy. Which is great because even though I always say that I don’t like being busy I find that I am actually at my most productive when I do have a lot to do. Still, throughout these past two weeks my thoughts have become a running loop of this John Green gif:

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But, things have happened, and I feel compelled to blog about it.

Against all odds, I completed my Camp NaNoWriMo project!

Well, maybe not against all odds, since I only fell a little behind, and then had an entire day near the end where I did basically nothing but sit in a cafe and grind out 6500 words. (Though I was sucked into a comment thread on a Facebook photo of my friends and me from 10 YEARS ago. Holy crap.)

And now, I have seven short stories. The average length of a story is a little more than 5700 words, though a few stories are significantly longer than that. And I’m happy to say that I will be editing a few of them, getting them ready to submit to literary magazines that I’ve had my eye on for a while… We’ll see how this goes.

I sprained my ankle!

This may not seem like something worth being excited over, and yes, I agree somewhat because it really hurt and I’m still recovering. (I haven’t been able to work out for a week and a half! And it’s making me anxious!) But I’m grateful for the technology that makes being able to work from home a viable option.

Also, I’m realizing how much I take for granted the ability to walk without pain. And I’m realizing how much exercising regularly has done for regulating my mood and general mental/emotional stability. And I’m realizing how vital it is to have health insurance. Realizations all around.

I read the Immortals series by Tamora Pierce!

Over the years I’ve had a few people recommend Tamora Pierce’s books to me, and last year I did get a chance to read the Song of the Lioness series. I checked out the Immortals books from my nearby public library (hooray for NYPL’s reserve system!) and sped through them in a week.

Basically: I have a lot of feels for Daine, I think Numair is hot because competence is sexy, and I am looking forward to the next set of Tamora Pierce books I’ll be reserving from the library when things die down.

The Hamilton soundtrack has been giving me a lot of feels!

Seriously, I’ve been listening to it on my commute and I have to tell myself repeatedly to not cry on the bus. I can’t decide on my favorite song, though the one that has the most plays right now is “Wait for It.” It’s a little sad, it’s motivational (at least, to me it is), and it’s beautifully performed.

Also, I’ve added “winning the Hamilton lottery” to my list of life ambitions.

That has been these past two weeks in a nutshell!

And I’m looking forward to the rest of August. This month I have Summer Streets, grad school planning, and doing research for the novel I’ll be writing during this November’s NaNoWriMo, all on top of working full time. So yes, it’ll be a busy month!

For the first time in my history of doing NaNoWriMo events (which, admittedly, goes back only as far as last November), I have fallen behind!

Camp NaNoWriMo July 2016 progress.jpg

Even though some part of me is dying a little inside at the fact that I’m behind on my progress, I almost feel like celebrating. I’m behind! I’m behind! This has never happened before in my NaNoWriMo history, and it’s something new! Different! What’s going to happen next?!

And that’s really what matters, right? That I find a way to learn from my mistakes, that I try to grow from my failures?

I’m behind on Camp NaNoWriMo. And of the people who are behind on their Camp projects, I’m likely one of the few who are actually happy about it.

Tomorrow will be my last day at my first full-time job. I have the weekend to relax and gather my wits, and then Monday I start on a new job.

Holy crap.

I’ve taken to calling this job change my Big Life Change. (At least, I’ve been calling it that in my head.) And this Big Life Change is one of the main reasons I’ve been so busy lately, and unable to hang onto certain aspects of my routine (like posting to this blog…). I’ve had to think about how my life is going to change as a result of this new job, and I spent the past few weeks rearranging things so that I’ll be able to make the transition from one chapter to the next with relative ease. There will still be bumps, of course, but I think I’m now in a good position to deal with anything that comes my way.

Still, I am scared. I am scared with any new venture, and this particular one is taking a lot of pep talks and jogging around the reservoir to release my anxiety. But, to further relieve me of my fear, I make the time to focus on the good things.

Like the farewell party my coworkers threw for me today (which included a delicious chocolate cake, and also some really sweet remarks from my coworkers). Like the hoodie I got as a part of my parting gift package, and will become my hoodie of choice to keep me warm in freezing cold buildings. Like wrangling Excel to do exactly what I want to do, after weeks of puzzling over a tricky formula. Like reaching the halfway point of my Camp NaNoWriMo project a few days early. Like promising to keep in touch (and meaning it).

Yeah, I’m scared. But I’m also excited and ready for the change.

…Still, holy crap, am I right?

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A picture of that delicious chocolate cake. Because cake.

Happy day 7 of July Camp NaNoWriMo, everyone!

I’ve been working pretty steadily so far, and I think I learned my lesson from April; I will not be overloading myself with writing projects and end up burning out for two months. Especially since I anticipate that July will bring some Big Life Changes, my goal is really just to make it through the month and beyond.

But that aside, it has been a really good few days.

My project is something a little different this month. It’s a set of short stories, the collection tentatively entitled Enclave, and I have two completed stories so far. (Well, their first drafts, anyway.) I have a third story that I anticipate I’ll finish today, and then after that…

Honestly, I don’t know what the rest of the stories will be.

Still, I have some completed drafts. I’m planning on completing a third. This morning I spent some time re-reading the stories I’ve finished so far, and though they are rough, I have something to work with. I have something to re-read, and that is enough to buoy me through this hot and humid day. (Seriously, I’m melting in New York; the only solace I get from the weather is on the air-conditioned bus.)

Anyway, I’m just chasing that satisfaction of having completed something.

Stay cool, everyone.

Enc (1).jpg

The cover I made using Canva, a free, online tool for web design, and one of my favorite sites ever.

Hello, everyone!

I apologize for my unexpected hiatus; I didn’t actually mean to take a break, but I think between doing Camp NaNoWriMo, posting every day to this blog, and then also journaling every day during the month of April, I was totally sapped of energy, and then May ended up being quite a busy month that it’s now been seven weeks since the last time I posted.

Unfortunately this post won’t do much to break that streak except say that I’m coming back to blogging, but first I’m getting my house in order: changing up a few things (like maybe my theme?), reevaluating how much I want to post to this blog, and getting ready for the second half of 2016 with another Camp NaNoWriMo project in July! And I plan to start up with regular posts then.

Until next time!

-Caroliena

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May the 4thbe with you.jpg

Oops, my Catholic upbringing is showing.

I just wanted to share a May the 4th graphic since I’m a very new Star Wars fan. (The first time I saw Episodes IV, V, VI, I, II, III, in that order, was about four years ago.)

And I am totally unapologetic in my enthusiasm for Rey/Finn/Poe fan fiction, or JediStormPilot. Right now, I’m eagerly anticipating updates to this series that follows my OT3 as they accidentally/on purpose start a Stormtrooper rebellion. It’s heartbreaking, heartwarming, and I am all about polyamory in fiction.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the day. May the 4th be with you!

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