Sunday, March 28, 2010

When Ideal isn't Real.

What if you woke up every day at the age of 16 with pain shooting throughout your entire body? What if you were told that if you didn't stay active, you would most likely be in a wheelchair by the age of 25? That is the terrifying reality of one of my closest friends in the world, Bella. This is not a rally for money, a plea post, or anything of the sort, only a blog "plug." Bella is completely sick of feeling tired, worn down and in pain. When Ideal Isn't Real is her new blog chronicling a three month experiment in eating only raw foods. No meat, dairy, wheat or anything processed- only vegetables, fruits and teas. She hasn't posted in a few days, but I'm getting on her back to post again, and hope that this will encourage her along the way. :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Eisley Jacobs giveaway!

To be brutally honest, I am SO in this for the prize package... Eisley Jacobs is an author, avid twitterer, and homeschooling mom! She also happens to have a GREAT prize giveaway on her blog.
Enter now, blog it, tweet about it, and comment on her Facebook Fan page to enter, in order to receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card, G2 Mini RollerGell Pens (I ADORE THESE PENS) Small black notebook with elastic closure, Choxie Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans, Ritter Dark Chocolate Bar, A package or two of PEEPS and A Random CUTE pair of socks!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Keep Breathing

I’m writing this post in a really peaceful place... It’s not physically anywhere different than where I was a year ago, and yet things are so much better- you have no idea. A year ago, my world fell apart. In one way or another, I lost two of the most important people in my life, each for scarily similar reasons. My dad lost his job. I basically failed Algebra, and it was close to the year anniversary of my Aunt moving to Seattle, which completely tore me apart- I saw her roughly six days a week when she lived in town, and spent my Friday nights (EVERY Friday night) at her house, babysitting for my cousin. I’d then spend the night and we (Aunt, Uncle and cousin) would go out to breakfast (coffee!) Saturday morning and they would take me to my theater class. It was a perfect routine, and then they were gone.

You may be thinking that this sounds awfully close to the plot of my novel. Girl has issues with her two best friends, and has to deal in any way that she can... Well, that is because most of it happened to me. Not everything, of course- and there are very few details that are exactly as they happened. A lot of things were simplified, and the characters can in some way resemble their counterparts, but are by no means exact copies.

All the time when this was all happening, I didn’t know where I was supposed to go, I was just sick of everything, plodding through life minute by minute. I sunk into a depression; I was never suicidal, I just lost any desire to do anything by lay in bed all day and cry. I wanted to seal over my door and keep the world out. I moved on in many ways, but those memories still haunt me at times, and some of the scars left over are still sensitive. But I look back on March ’09 now, 12 months later, and realize that I just kept breathing, and moved forward in any way that I could... I look back and still wonder how I got through it. But I did. I kept going, and I did extra credit in algebra to get my grade up, and moved away for three months, I worked at a grocery store, I bought a laptop that I had been dreaming about for years and years; I started a novel, stopped it mid-way and wrote another novel in 30 days.

I adapted, and I got better, and today I no longer have that sick feeling sitting in my stomach, I no longer wish that I could just seal over my door and have people feed me coffee and burritos through the hole in the bottom; and all of the people that I lost a year ago happen to be with me again. My dad found a job just last week, and I’m not failing Algebra 2. Am I back where I started? In some ways, yes. But am I stronger because of it? Absolutely.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The tweet heard around the world. Keep going, Jeremy!

I shouldn't have been up. Seriously. But thankfully, I was. At 1:32 am, Nia Vardalos (Actress, screenwriter, director, comedian extraordinaire - oh yeah, and star of the FANTASTIC My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I LOVE her.) sent out a twitter to her 33,000+ followers:

@NiaVardalos: Please send help, this man is having thoughts of suicide. JEREMY, please call 1800-SUICIDE to talk @Jeremyllynch

I thought that it might be a hoax, but twittered to @Jeremyllynch anyway. So did dozens, hundreds,( maybe thousands?) of others. At this point, I was wide awake, and worried about this complete stranger from Casselberry, Florida. So many people sent kind words of encouragement, which are heartwarming to read. He originally twittered to Demi Moore (@MrsKutcher) but I received my updates from Nia.

@ jsmisko @jeremyllynch Hope u r ok this morning. "Nurture your mind with great thoughts; to believe in the heroic makes heroes." ~ Benjamin Disraeli

@ NerdfighterAbby @jeremyllynch Hey, Jeremy. I heard about how you feeling. Hope this helps.

(She linked to this image)
Secret. 8289 by =DeviantArtSecret on deviantART

@sanginlady @jeremyllynch I am praying 4 your strength Jeremy, U can get thru this rough time, to make your life better, dont forget 2 lean on love man

@sarascaj @jeremyllynch I just wanted 2 send a ((hug)) I care.

@jrzjlo @jeremyllynch @mrskutcher I wish more people would reach out when they feel like this. It is never as dark as it seems n ppl do care! BlessU

Without internet, I was glued to my phone. Nia called the Florida police and the suicide hotline, and finally I received this update, about half an hour later:

@NiaVardalos: Just spoke to FL police again, they're with Jeremy now. He is ok, it's not a hoax. Thank u all for sending love to @jeremyllynch.

This could've very possibly been an attempt to get attention, for all we knew, Jeremy Llynch could have been telling some big joke. But he wasn't. There were complete strangers all over the world reaching out with 140 characters of compassion, which is the real power of social media. People can say that it's a waste of time, but I honestly believe that twitter saved a life, and I'm glad that I was a tiny part. :)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A post in which I whine, ramble and get link happy.

As I'm writing this, my manuscript March has 50,663 words. This means that there is tangible proof that I HAVE worked on my novel, and I haven’t just added 652 words. I’ve actually CUT stuff, followed by some re-writing and... There’s proof. I haven’t done a whole heck of a lot, but there’s proof.

Moving forward. I am mentally exhausted. (Proof, in that I couldn’t edit the fragment and unnaturally short sentence into a longer, better phrase and avoid unnecessary punctuation.) I’ve gained a rather short attention span for anything not honestly, instantly interesting... Or anything that requires me to work. Take a jump into my brain for a moment. I look at my book shelf, and a sense of dread washes over me, because reading is scary and requires me to be intelligent, and analyze characters, and... and... Then I wind up slapping myself in the face. You know why? Because while a really fabulous book challenges it’s reader to think above and beyond what is presented at face value, a good book also guides you into the identity of your characters; it holds your hand. (Unless that book is Liar by Justine Larbalestier, but that’s just a kick butt book, and that’s the point.) You should see me watch Lost. Every single one of my comments were along the lines of, "Oh look! Ben Linus has a nosebleed. Again."

I didn’t have to have this stupid anxiety of fearing the mental challenge of reading, because while reading is often mental workout, in the world of mental fitness, I am addicted to this exercise. Upon further investigation of my brain, I realized that I wasn’t really scared/weary of reading, I was terrified of writing. I was terrified about the fact, that the fates of Jackson, Olivia, Erin, Maureen, Ellen, Theo and Justin all sit on my shoulders and hard drive, and that I can screw them up if I make one wrong move. I realized that I was mentally blocking a writers’ block, refusing to believe that the honeymoon was over and that now I have to take risks with my manuscript, in order to move forward. Now I have to do the grunt work to finish the first draft, all the while, it seems like the rest of the writers that I’m following on a regular basis all seem to have their books in and out of edits (this is everyone, but, I mean, SERIOUSLY, Hannah Moskowitz?), and their ARCs are arriving, (Sarah Rees Brennan *cough*) and they’re getting Amazon pages and covers, and ISBN numbers (Stephanie Perkins- YAYYYYYY!!!!) and here I am, with barely 50,000 words of a NaNoWriMo manuscript which holds a relatively decent plot, wondering what the heck to do now, and wishing that I could just hand my manuscript over to my clone to deal with. You know what I’m talking about, the one who would work out for me and get Algebra done, and clean my room, then merge back into my head with all the sore-muscles and math benefits added to my person, no work required. Jumping from that place to a close-to-finished manuscript seemed like it would take a literal act of God.

I was at this point Wednesday night. Some complaining to Hannah Moskowitz helped, and Stephanie Perkins gave me the gift of this video, a 20 minute lecture by Elizabeth Gilbert (Author of Eat, Pray, Love) about the creative process, which I highly recommend EVERYONE watching.
(You can actually download the lecture in both video and audio form, but make sure you have a good connection; the video download is about 65 MB.)

I know that all of the authors mentioned above have been in my place, and that ultimately they struggled with their writing too. But just because they can identify with my slump, doesn’t mean that the utter and complete suckage just ends. If you’ve ever been in my place, you know that when you reach this point, two options remain. The first is to give up. The second, is to keep writing. Giving up might be the option for some people, but I have poured far too much time and energy into this manuscript to stop working on it now. Thus leaves the option of pushing through the tough parts and keeping up with my writing.

Keep working.

This is the single most irritating piece of advice any writer will give you. BUT, this is the only thing that really works. Move to a different chapter. Re-work a favorite scene, ANYTHING. Just don’t stop. You know why? Because like that whole exercise analogy, once you get back into the process, slowly you dislike it less and less. Then once your writing time is over, once your workout is finished, you have that wonderful exhausted feeling, which you should dwell in for as long as possible. Your muscles are slightly sore, but your mind is at ease, and you have that glimmer of hope again. I kept writing.

I’m over my issues right now, so to anyone who needs it, whining and complaining to me about your writing WILL work. But in the midst of me helping you not be so miserable, I WILL tell you to keep writing. When the time comes, I will most definitely need you to tell ME to keep writing, probably sooner rather than later. But that’s life, right? We help each other, we bare our souls in the hopes that in those dark and gloomy moments, someone will @reply us on twitter, or email, or even just call and say, “I feel your pain, magic book dust will be sent your way, keep writing.”

Thursday, March 11, 2010



2 eggs

1 cup flour

1 tsp salt

Combine all three ingredients (really, it's easy) and form into a ball as best you can, basically, if you can squish everything into a ball that holds together, you're good. If you need to, add a few drops of water. Once everything is combined, wrap in plastic wrap, and let the dough sit for a few minutes. If you want to add herbs/spices to the pasta, add before you mix in the eggs. At this point, you will have a ball of dough. Cut in parts, and lightly knead the dough.


If your dough is sticky to the touch, add flour to the surface (Like in the picture- no, that's not dinosaur skin). This is our pasta machine- I recommend one for making pasta because you need to get the dough really thin, but you could improvise with a rolling pin.

Closeup of the pasta- this is Rosemary Basil.

Once you've rolled the dough really thin, cut it into strips (again, assisted by our pasta machine) and boil until cooked through. :)

You can add cocoa powder to the flour (and take out the salt, replace with sugar) to create this:

To which you add whipped cream and:

and end up with:


I am avoiding the topic of writing right now, because it hates me. But more on that little bug of a phenomenon LATER. (No, I'm not giving up, and I'm also not having writers block- I'm just having writers.. hate or something.)