Day 14-Friendship

Make new friends

But keep the old

One is silver

And the other’s gold

Day 7: Creativity

Been away from the posts for a few days, but I knew this was one I wanted to tackle.

Creativity has always been important to me. When I was younger, I thought I was going to be a fiction writer. I’ve had a bit of success, here and there, at short fiction. Thing is, there’s not much of a market for short fiction, and I’m not sure I’m a novelist at heart. I don’t have BIG IDEAS. I’m kind of lousy at plotting.

My creativity manifests in other ways, though. I’ve been doing calligraphy since I was in high school, and I maintain an Etsy shop where I sell my calligraphy and paper crafts.

Lately, though, it’s been coming out in the form of songwriting. Well, lyric writing. I’m not a musician, but I am married to one. 🙂 And being married to one has brought me into a whole community that has nurtured and supported this creativity.

The past two years, I’ve participated in something called February Album Writing Month. (That link goes to my profile.) The idea is to write 14 songs-an album’s worth-in 28 days. Now, I haven’t made it to 14, or anywhere near, but it’s been a useful exercise anyway. This year, I posted three things…one of them, a lyric that’s been around for a while that has finally been set to music. I ended up adding two lyrics that aren’t quite finished. In my drafts I also have a Peggy Carter song (tentatively “Do as Peggy Says”) that I’ve been trying to write this for a year now. I’ve made a little bit of movement, but It’s giving me a rough time. There’s also a chorus inspired by a FB post conversation that still doesn’t have a song, and two brainstorming lists that I’m hopeful will turn into something at some point. I call that a win.

All of this is moving toward an album that Rand and I are going to record this year. (eep!)

All of this is to say that, while I’m not doing what I once thought I would be doing, I’m really happy with my creative life right now. I love being able to create and collaborate and feel supported and enriched by it.

(The poster imaged above–designed by Karen Paddison–features lyrics from the song “Take it Back” by Kathleen Sloan. It’s based on a speech made by Barry and Sally Childs-Helton when they were inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame. I am proud and humbled to count these people among my friends.)

Day 5: Gratitude

The first time I listened to Hamilton, this was the line that most stuck in my head.

How lucky we are to be alive right now.

It’s an easy thing to forget. It’s easy to get bogged down in everything that’s wrong. It’s good to remind ourselves about what’s right.

Right now, I’m grateful for the love in my life…the love of the wonderful man I share my life with, and the love of my families–of birth, by marriage, and chosen.

(I’m grateful for a lot of other things, too. Like the unstoppable ball of joy that is Lin-Manuel Miranda, and all the beauty he has created.)

Look around.

(If you want to know what this whole theme post thing is about, check my first post here. And feel free to join in–there are no rules!)

Day 4: Humor

Back when I was planning my wedding, I celebrated 27 things I love about Rand on my wedding blog, for the 27 days leading up to the big day.

Day 23 was: He makes me laugh. (I don’t want to re-hash everything I wrote there, but click the link if you want to read it. It’s not very long.)

Rand’s sense of humor, and the way he knows mine.–whether that means telling a joke he knows will make me laugh, or showing me a cat video I haven’t seen yet, or rewinding the TV show so I can see that pratfall I missed while I was looking at my phone/computer–is such an important part of our life together. He just really gets me, y’know?

When I started thinking about this post, I wanted to make a YouTube playlist of some of my favorite comedians, but I got overwhelmed and distracted and moved on to other things. Maybe that’ll come another time.

Just recently, though, we saw one of those faves, Mike Birbiglia, live at Helium here in Buffalo, working out his newest material. This afternoon, we watched his most recent filmed special, “Thank God for Jokes.” Both were fantastic. (During the former, I learned that he had grandparents who lived in Hamburg, and so spent time in Western New York visiting them when he was a child.)  Birbiglia was an up-and-coming young comedian when Rand and I were dating and starting to enjoy comedy together…we both identified with his “My family isn’t real Italian; we’re more Olive Garden Italian…” bit that was part of his early act.

I was going to end this post by sharing a clip, but I couldn’t pick one…so if you’re not familiar with him, go to YouTube and type in Mike Birbiglia, or go to Netflix, and watch “Thank God for Jokes” or “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” or “What I Should Have Said Was Nothing.” You won’t regret it.

(If you want to know what this whole theme post thing is about, check my first post here. And feel free to join in–there are no rules!)

Day 2: Heart

(Yes, I am a day behind. I’ll catch up eventually…maybe…) 😉

I sometimes make fun of Heart a little bit for going all ballad-y (and less rock-y) in the 80s. But this song. Is. So. Good. The ultimate power ballad.

Day 1: Love

So, Michelle tagged me in on this writing prompt. I failed to post yesterday, so here I am, starting a wee bit late…

Anyway, love.

There were a lot of ways I could have gone with this, but here’s what I settled on: my morning coffee, in my Shakespeare love mug. Made with my favorite new coffee gadget, the AeroPress. The coffee is Equal Exchange organic Mind, Body, & Soul, sweetened with some Splenda and flavored CoffeeMate creamer.

This is significant, you see, because when I started blogging many moons ago, I didn’t drink coffee. It’s even in my 100 Things About Me post. This particular rabbit hole started for me with the Pumpkin Spice Latte. And now, I can’t start the day without it.

So on this chilly March morning, love is a hot cup of coffee. Mmmmm.

Inside the burst bubble

In November 2011, after the whole Penn State scandal blew up, I wrote a little essay on my blog titled “We are…heartbroken.” Shortly after that, I was contacted by a professor at PSU who was interested in putting together a book and wanted to know if my essay could be included. I said yes, and waited.

There were some ups and downs in the process, but the final decision was to fund the project using indiegogo, with all proceeds beyond the cost of the book itself to be donated to RAINN. Here’s the link to the project page, where you can read more of the details:

Notes from Inside a Burst Bubble: Penn Staters on the Penn State Scandal

I am proud to be a part of this project. If you are so inclined, please help me spread the word.

A few of my favorite posts

This is something I’ve meant to do for a long time now…a collection of some of my favorite posts from over the years. I’ll include some of my wedding blog posts too!

We are…heartbroken (Nov. 15, 2011)

What’s in a name? (Nov. 28, 2007)

Like a horse and carriage (Feb. 15, 2006)

Friday ponderings (Jan. 21, 2005)

You can learn how to be you in time (Dec. 9, 2004)

That’s it for now…possibly to be amended later.

Confession

Sometimes I think about doing something like Kelly’s “Ask Me Anything,” but Im sort of afraid no one will actually, y’know, ask me anything.

Anyway…just one thing before I sign off, for anyone who didn’t see it on facebook already…it’s my grandpa’s 90th birthday today! Happy birthday, grandpa!

me & grandpa again

(That pic is from his 85th…I can’t believe that was 5 years ago!)

Goals

I’m having a meeting with my creative writing club at school, and I’ve asked my students to come up with some writing goals (or resolutions) for the coming year. So, since I’m asking my students to do this, I figure I should do the same!

I’m hesitant about calling them “resolutions,” so I’m going to call mine a loose collection of goals that I resolve to feel no guilt or pressure about. 😉

1. Post something in my blog once a week.

2. Start journaling regularly again.

3. Find more time for reading (for fun).

4. Prepare something (probably a short story) for submission somewhere.

5. Do something during NaNoWriMo this year, even if it’s a smaller goal than a complete novel.

By posting this here, I’m making good on #1 already!

This is not really writing-related, but I’d also like to find more time to work on calligraphy projects…sadly, I have to get caught up on that pile of grading first!!

What goals are you setting for yourself, writing or otherwise?