30 Day Writing Challenge (Day 30)

Day 30: Your highs and lows for the month.

This is the last day of my 30 day writing challenge! Thanks for joining me. 

did meet several of my oldest online friends circa 2007! By coincidence, many of us were within an hour’s drive of each other shortly after new year’s, and we met up at a local mall and took pictures and hugged and talked all at once. It was a great time.

I also took a nasty tumble. January has been cold, dark, and wet–and snowy, because I live in New England. A couple weeks ago, I fell on some ice obscured by a layer of soft snow and landed on my hip. I already have back problems, and the fall exasperated all of them. I ended up calling out of work two days later, because the pain had started to radiate so badly I was afraid I fractured something. But I only bruised the bone (still painful) and after about a week was able to resume my usual activities. Thankfully (I guess) the weather was pretty bad that week, so I had a built in excuse to stay in my bed with my cats, binge Boy Meets World, and crochet.

Hopefully February brings me a few more puzzle pieces towards my goals.


30 Day Writing Challenge (Day 29)

Day 29: What are your goals for the next 30 days?

  1. I want to write two short stories next month to share on this blog.
  2. I want to reach level four in French on Duolingo.
  3. And I want to write another chapter on my novel (which is very slowly progressing, and I keep reminding myself that it took Neil Gaiman something like 10 years to write Coraline).

I’d love to hear about your goals in the comments! Maybe we can help each other!

30 Day Writing Challenge (Day 27)

Day 27: Conversely, write about something that’s kicking ass right now.

I’ve been feeling inspired.

I’m not referring to the continuous scroll of motivation phrases that dominate Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram first thing in the morning or late at night. (These are helpful, sometimes. But on a very bad day, they only make me feel worse about myself, about the fact that I feel bad. Following the accounts feels like a gesture. I’ve stopped looking at them.)

2017 felt like a quicksand trap. I started to feel trapped in my job as the few interviews I landed didn’t yield results. Debt started piling back up. I had to cancel several sets of plans which involved traveling. My car finally needed a few repairs too many. I attended several funerals. I was trying to train two high-spirited kittens (with some success, though it’s been slow-going). Many of my favorite celebrities passed away in quick succession (a morale blow, even if I didn’t know them personally). The harder I struggled, the more quickly I sank. I was waist deep and couldn’t find a way out.

Admittedly, I’m still trying to find a way out.

I threw myself into books. They were the only things that settled my brain, that helped me calm down enough to sleep. But then the holidays came, and I sank to a new low–a low I knew I couldn’t stay in forever. I felt like a bad friend, a failure, a flake. I picked up projects and put them down, unable to concentrate. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was wasting time, no matter what I was trying to work on. I didn’t finish a single project I started in 2017, except for a handful of small crochet amigurumi commissions.

But this month, I’ve done a lot. I completed several more commissions. I’ve been practicing making beanies because I’ve been asked for them many times. I’ve been making afghan squares, trying to work through my yarn stash to make room for new crafts I really want to try. I want to try things, like learn how to make a sweater. I’ve been working on a short story I meant to present to a friend for Christmas, as well as working through my first plot hurdle on a YA novel I started early last year and hit a wall with.

So it’s not that things are kicking ass, really. Too many of my problems that peeked in 2017 do not have solutions I have the resources to implement. But I’m inspired. I have hope. As my best friend said, nihilism jokes are fine, but nihilism as a philosophy isn’t healthy. Without hope, we stagnate.

If we stagnate, we sink.

30 Day Writing Challenge (Day 26)

Day 26: Write about an area in your life that you’d like to improve.

I don’t know how to forgive.

I know how to hold my breath,
let my lungs burn
with fighting words
let the words shrivel, choke
on the smoke.

I know how to hold my fists
tight against the sides of my thighs
fingernails digging into my palms
bloody little graves
for every opinion
I did not articulate,
for every desire
I left tied up in the New England winter
to freeze
never knowing
that I could not afford
to care.

I know how to count
backwards from ten:

I do not know what to do
when I run out of numbers,
out of breath,
out of love,
out of patience.
I do not know what it’s like
to open my mouth
and let the fire of my rage
burn them like dragonflame
to open my palms
and let my opinions soar
without crushing their butterfly wings

I do not know how to forgive
for all the dreams
I have abandoned
for all the feelings
I smothered with pillows
because I didn’t want
to make noise
I didn’t want
to offend
I didn’t want
to find out
that they didn’t love me.

30 Day Writing Challenge (Day 25)

Day 25: Think of any word. Search it on google images. Write something inspired by the 11th image.

I couldn’t find a source for this image, as it’s been used in several places around the net uncredited in the nature of Meme Culture. If you know the source, please let me know in the comments!


My friend asks me
“What do you want”
and I stare at him
the answer has never

he asks me
again and again and again
but all I can think about
are french fries and ice cream
and all the things I don’t want.

So I say the fourth thing I think of:
I say “I want you to stop asking me that question.”
which is not only not the answer he wants
but it isn’t even the truth.

He asks again,
and a shiver runs down my spine,
even as a rage I don’t understand
climbs up my throat,
using my esophagus like a ladder.
Because I said to stop,
but like all the other times I said stop,
it doesn’t seem to matter.

He says I have a bad habit
of letting boys kiss me
and I guess he isn’t wrong.
I’m still wondering what’s happening
as my back is pushed against the wall
and my lips are pushed apart.
I’m not paying attention
to the foreign intrusion in my mouth
feeling around my teeth.

I know this isn’t what I want,
but I don’t know
the alternative.

30 Day Writing Challenge (Day 24)

Day 24: Write about a lesson you learned the hard way.

Note: I took off yesterday. I started a new schedule at work and it’s taking some getting used to. It takes me a while to settle into routines, and they do not like to be disturbed. 

“Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.”
-J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Family, friends, therapists, and coworkers tell me all the time that I worry too much. That my “soul sadness,” as I sometimes refer to my depression, is a result of letting my thoughts get away from me.

You have too much free time if you’re worrying so much. Does anyone else get told that a lot?

So I fill up my free time, stuff it to the brim with jobs, classes, friends, projects, and chores. I don’t know how to sit still. In the shower, I am making lists for my day. I read on the bus, in waiting rooms, when the internet crashes. I read while listening to the news, while my babysitting charges sleep, while the plumber works in the other room. When I watch a movie or a TV show, I’m writing, drawing, crocheting, cleaning, giving myself a pedicure, mending my clothes. I listen to podcasts while I vacuum, wash the dishes, take the garbage out, mop the floor.  As I’m settling into bed, I study French, scroll through endless social media, review my progress on my lists (I have dailies, weeklies, monthlies, and yearlies. I’m never satisfied with the day’s progress.)

I can go like this for days, sometimes even weeks. But eventually, it catches up to you. A flare prevents the morning stretch-and-exercise routine. A headache makes you turn off the music, the laptop, the television. An eye twitch makes you close the book. Aching wrists and fiber-burned fingers make you put down the crochet. Frustration puts down the pencil. The social media is too sad, too bitter, too angry. Your friends are busy, or not getting along, or you’re running out of things to say and money to spend on adventuring.

You’re burning out.

And then when the worry and the “soul sadness” settle in, you don’t have anything left to fight it with. Every thought and feeling you’ve been crowding out with outside noise under the guise of productivity creeps in, first as stray intrusive thoughts but soon as a deluge that pins you to the bed with its force. Suddenly, you feel everything, and the result is overwhelming and so painful.

Sometimes, it’s okay to just let yourself feel it. It’s okay to be in a bad mood. It’s okay to cancel plans sometimes. If you have one day off this week, you don’t have to fill it. Curl up on the couch, wrap yourself in a blanket, put on a movie you may or not pay attention to. If you need permission to feel sad, put on a sad movie. Let yourself cry. Let yourself sleep. I know the dishes need to be done, and the laundry, and the floor. You can do them later, if it’ll make you feel better. But right now, you need to acknowledge that there’s a feeling to recover from at all.