I'm not sure how it happens, but just like that, I blinked and another month passed me by.
I can't say that I am horribly unhappy about being 31 days closer to cooler weather, but I'm trying not to panic that time is whizzing by. Too fast. I will say, though, that July treated me pretty well. I was a part of my dear friends' wedding, I went on a fabulously beautiful and fun bachelorette trip, I spent time with family and friends, I wrote, I read, I dreamed and discussed with my writing group.
This lady can't complain. I mean I can, and I probably will, like about the fact that I am craving chocolate right now. Psh, womanhood.
Do you think I could make money starting a dessert delivery business? I think about this often (is that weird?) But really, the world is delivering practically everything to our doorsteps these days. All I'm asking for is a piece of cake. Or a brownie. Ok, I'm done.
Here are some thoughts, readings, and watchings that accompanied by happy month.
Happiness: What is it & How Do We Hold on to it?
I've been thinking a lot lately about happiness. And how it seems like such a simple task to "just be happy." So why is it an emotion that sometimes eludes me? To me, I see happiness as a sense of peace. A feeling of absolute serenity in your here and now. No matter what is going on, you're secure in yourself and the direction your life is moving in. I often can get caught in the vicious cycle of "If I just had..." or "If only this would happen..." I think that can be a dangerous place to wallow. Because it tells me that I need things or experiences to make me happy. But all the moments and objects in the world won't change a thing unless I find that peace within myself.
I Googled "the definition of happiness" and this is what showed up.
Isn't it strange that the example for using "happiness" in a sentence is "she struggled to find happiness in her life"? I don't want it to be so hard. It shouldn't be so hard. But sometimes the struggle is real. Here's to another month of finding the peace within.
I Let My Writing Muscle Atrophy, and I'll Never Do That Again
So there comes this time after you write a book that resembles a vast hole of confusion and "what nows." Typing "The End" is the most exhilarating feeling in the world. But of course, it's never actually the end. What they don't tell you, and what I learned on my own, is that editing and re-editing and revising are their own monsters. And during this time, you're not always writing all that much. That happneded to me. I wasn't creating, I was working on perfecting what was already in front of me. Then I put her (my book) away, and wrote a little bit (but not nearly enough), picked her back up, edited some more, put her away again, wrote even less, and after many rounds of that I'm here. In the slow paced, nail-biting, gut-punched world of querying literary agents.
And the biggest advice I've read about the querying process? Start working on your next project so you don't go insane while you wait for responses from agents.
Except I was not a smart writer. I was a BAD writer. I got tired, complacent, confused. I barely wrote for over a month. And now it is hard to get back into it. The creative muscle shriveled up.
But fear not, I am watering and exercsing that bad boy again. I wrote a short story last week and shared it with my writing group. I outlined my second novel. I outlined another novel in a completely different genre than my first book (because why the hell not?). So, it's coming back. The excitment is building (and some fear).
And every night I go to bed saying, "You can do this. You can do this."
Hells yeah, I can.
An Excellent Article
I stumbled across Marc and Angel's blog just last week, and I would recommend it to any one whoever just needs a little help. Or push. Or reasons to smile. They pride themselves on creating and sharing content about finding lasting happiness, love, peace, and success.
I really enjoyed their post from yesterday, entitled "9 Hard Things You Have to Do to Move Forward with Your LIfe". Read it here.
An Exciting and Intriguing Mini-Series!
Tomorrow, Discovery Channel is premiering it's new 8-episode series Manhunt: Unabomber starring Sam Worthington as Jim "Fitz" Fitzgerald, the FBI profiler largely responsible for identifying and capturing the unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, played by Paul Bettany. Since I've been binge-watching Criminal Minds, I'm now hooked on anything FBI and profiling related. I am so excited to watch this and learn more about what led Ted Kaczynski to express himself in the form of domestic terrorism and also about the man who, when reading articles about him, seemed to destroy the life around him in his 17 year pursuit of a killer.
Manhunt: Unabomber premiers tomorrow, August 1st, at 9/8c. Check out the preview!
Three books on my "To Read" list!
*Synopsis provided via Amazon*
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
**I know this book has been out for many years, and I have stumbled upon it from time to time without giving it a hard look. It sounds both intriguing and emotional and I can't wait to check it out!**
The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette’s brilliant and charismatic father captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family. The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.
The Glass Castle was also made into a movie starring Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts. It comes out August 11th! Check out the trailer!
**I'm slightly obsessed with true crime anything right now (and really always have been). I can't wait to check out this book, told in the spirit of a novel, but based on a very real story!**
Two men, each handsome and unusually adept at his chosen work, embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized America’s rush toward the twentieth century. The architect was Daniel Hudson Burnham, the fair’s brilliant director of works and the builder of many of the country’s most important structures, including the Flatiron Building in New York and Union Station in Washington, D.C. The murderer was Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor who, in a malign parody of the White City, built his “World’s Fair Hotel” just west of the fairgrounds—a torture palace complete with dissection table, gas chamber, and 3,000-degree crematorium.
Burnham overcame tremendous obstacles and tragedies as he organized the talents of Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles McKim, Louis Sullivan, and others to transform swampy Jackson Park into the White City, while Holmes used the attraction of the great fair and his own satanic charms to lure scores of young women to their deaths. What makes the story all the more chilling is that Holmes really lived, walking the grounds of that dream city by the lake.
The Devil in the White City draws the reader into a time of magic and majesty, made all the more appealing by a supporting cast of real-life characters, including Buffalo Bill, Theodore Dreiser, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Edison, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, and others. Erik Larson’s gifts as a storyteller are magnificently displayed in this rich narrative of the master builder, the killer, and the great fair that obsessed them both.
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
**The orphanage and kidnapping aspects of this story are based on real events. This book has received a ton of praise and it sounds fantastic!**
Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family's Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge--until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents--but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility's cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.
Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family's long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.
Based on one of America's most notorious real-life scandals--in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country--Lisa Wingate's riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.
How was everyone else's July?? I hope the summer is treating you well!
Until next time,