if i was in a novel

if i was a character in a novel

my “surface” journey is easy to figure.

i would be working to get out of this abusive house

and settle myself into a healthy life.

my “inner” journey

would be to get myself out of my abusive mindset

and ease my anxiety

and grow as a person

into a confident young woman

i’m still caught in the rising action, i guess.

the resolution is  a   whole     plot       line           away.

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Release: Word of the year

For 2018 I decided to write a bullet journal, which obviously didn’t last long. However, I liked looking back on the 10 or so pages I did do. They were all goals. Books I should read, movies I should see, things I should do. A list of friends I had already, as well as space to write in new friends I make along the way. I liked crossing out the boxes I drew about a year ago. I didn’t get to them all, but I got to quite a few.

On one of the pages, I wrote: Word of the Year: Renaissance.

I think I did quite a bit of that. Renaissance means “rebirth,” as I learned in 7th grade history, and I did try to be “reborn” as well as I could. Things truly have changed, and I do have a totally new life.

For 2019, I think my word of the year will be “Release.” I have changed my life for the better. Now, it is time to let go of all the pain of the past.

It is going to be a challenge, but a worthy one. I want to be able to forgive and forget, to move on, to let it go.

Hm. Let it go. I teared up the first time I saw that scene from Frozen. I watched it over and over until I knew all the words–and I was about 17. I was so inspired that this person could, well, let it go. Move on past her pain and her depression and her awful parents. Maybe she’s a good role model. A little “basic bitch” to look up to a Disney princess, but whatever. I’m done adjusting my personality to fit the molds of others.

I need to stop indulging in escapism and bottling up. I need to learn how to feel my feelings, acknowledge them, and let them go. I need to learn how to let go, how to move on, how to accept that people don’t change and things don’t change and all I can change is myself. I want to be able to let it all go. I want to be able to have my mind free of worry, both about the past and about the future.

My worrying is the biggest threat to my life. It threatens to ruin job and relationships all the time. I need to get a hold on it, and the best way to do that is to learn how to release.

Release. 2019. Release.

architect

I want to write.

I’m terrified.

Even my sister, who’s never read a word, told me that I need to get over my fears and do it, edit, send it off to people.

I’ve sent it off to people.

Every time I look at my novel I feel both better and worse. I touch up a few things, take out a word here, add a word there, make a few more connections from here to there. It’s like weaving a hammock, and every little knot makes it more structurally sound.

And now that I can lay in it, I’ve taken to weaving in flowers. Dying the rope. Making it pretty, not just serviceable. And I’m happy.

And I’m locked.

My stomach has been churning at top speed. My fingernails have been bitten away to shards. I’m breaking out in welts.

I need to get this book out.

It’s not ready.

That’s the thing, it’s not ready. It’s not good enough. I’ve been writing since I was in second grade and I’ve been writing books since I was twelve and this is my tenth year writing novels, my eighth novel, and it’s not good enough, not yet. But what can I do to improve?

I know it’s good. But it’s not great. It’s ignorable, and I don’t want that. This is something I have been putting every ounce of my being into, every drop of my soul.

I have agonized over every paragraph, and yet it’s not good enough.

I know it will never be perfect in my mind, but my heart won’t agree.

I must be a designer, not just an architect.

Pseudonym

Ginny Brattle isn’t my real name, and I don’t even like it.

How am I supposed to pick a pen name?

Why is this even on the top of my mind?

I hate my real name, too, to be fair.

Ingrid, Ingrid Peterson? I.P. Introvert Playground. Intellectual Property.

I.P. I pee. Nope. Or yep.  Whatever.

Ginny Brattle, bah. Reeks of youth.

I want my author persona to be one of mystery and age, like red wine and balconies, not one of a whining teenaged poet.

Brattle. After the Brattle Book Store, which I’ve gone to a handful of times.

Creating a Persona. A Star is Born. If everyone knows I’m fabricated, does it mean I’m even fabricated? Judy Garland (born Frances Ethel Gumm). Ginny Brattle (born Ingrid Peterson).

What is your mother’s maiden name?

Answer: I don’t know.

And why a pen name, you ask? Because my book is bathed in controversy before it even hits paper. It’ll be judged and hanged before it’s even read. Mothers and teachers and “the man” will condemn it.

That is, if anyone even hears of it.

Am I damned to be a nobody? Will no one even know my pen name, never mind my “maiden name?”

My worst fear is not never being published, it is being published and selling 43 copies, mainly to family and friends.

Absolutely Remarkable Things

This isn’t a book review, by the way. It’s more of a life review?

Anyway. A million years ago (…10, I guess, in retrospect) my friend introduced me to the YouTube channel Vlogbrothers, starring Hank and John Green. I got super into them, watched every video, and John’s book Looking For Alaska quickly became my favorite.

Then The Fault in Our Stars came out, etc.

Anyway, the other brother, Hank, just came out with HIS first book, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. To be honest, I wasn’t going to read it. I’m kind of over watching their videos–they’re aimed at a younger audience, which is fine, but it’s just not my thing anymore.

However, that friend (who introduced me to them 9 years ago) and I recently reconnected after like, a five year separation (I started dating her ex, we went to different colleges, then ended up back in our old home town). And she had an extra ticket to An Absolutely Remarkable Tour, the book tour starring the Green brothers. So I went.

And it was great, and weird, and everything I knew it would be, being a stage show put on by two incredibly famous middle-aged YouTubers. And the book (so far) is pretty good, too, but that’s not my point.

As the Greens were talking about how strange and complex and wonderful the world is, and the internet and books are, I began thinking about how strange and complex and wonderful it was that I was in that theatre at that moment. All the things that had to happen to bring me there…I had to pick the cello as an instrument in third grade, I had to stick with it and be just good enough to be my friend’s stand partner in middle school, I had to like Vlogbrothers and fall in love with John Green’s books and let them influence my own budding writing, I had to go to the same high school as her, and watch her break up with her boyfriend and consequently (a year or so later) start dating him myself, then go to a different college and then reconnect and then have her current boyfriend-fiance bail on her extra ticket, then be free on that day and then bam, there I was. In a theatre with this friend and these YouTubers I’ve known for a decade.

That friendship had become inextricably intertwined with the Vlogbrothers, and my loss and reconnection with both my friend and Nerdfighteria mirrored each other in an absolutely remarkable way.

It just goes to show the crazy weird coincidences that happen every day.

September

This is the exact day when I used to write, “Time to go wake up Green Day.”

As if “Green Day” was a person and as if “Wake Me Up When September Ends” isn’t about Billie Joe Armstrong’s dead father.

Ah, did you miss me? I’m a spark of sunshine in a dark world, huh?

 

Right now I’m in a library, a library that closes in an hour. I’ve been here for three hours and haven’t moved from this table in the center of everything. I’ve actually gotten a lot done. But not enough. Never enough.

 

Did I mention I’m a teacher, now? High school English, yeah. Starting off by covering a woman’s maternity leave. About fifty percent of the time I tell someone that they ask me when the baby’s due. I’m not the one with the baby. If I was, I wouldn’t be at work.

Sometimes people’s mouths move faster than their minds.

I’m starting Hamlet with my seniors tomorrow. I haven’t read Hamlet since I was a senior in high school. I was supposed to read it as a senior in college, but I figured I knew it well enough. I don’t think I know it well enough anymore.

I type fast and hard. The other library people keep glancing at me. Sorry. My fingers are silent to me. My thought-words drown them out.

I just uploaded all my Ireland pictures–pictures from a trip I took in July, almost three months ago. Yipes. Some things just get away from you. I wonder how many hours of YouTube bullshit I’ve watched since July. Probably a sickening amount.

On the plus side, my novel is truly, really, almost done. I mean DONE done, like ready to send to publishers done. I’ve “finished” 8 novels since I was 12, but this is the first novel I feel comfortable sending to a publisher. I’m terrified, lol.

“Terrified, lol” is how I’m explaining it to everybody.

Honestly, yeah. That sums it up. I’m terrified, lol. I’m scared I’m not good enough, lol. I’m hiding my fears in millennial internet slang, lol, to lighten the weight of my emotional load on the shoulders of my unsuspecting readers, lol.

I wonder if I’ll use the same pen name I use on this blog. Probably not, I’ll probably change it. Pen names are so hard. Do I go the gender-neutral initial route, or choose a good female name? Who knows.

The clock seems to go slower, here. There’s an art book for Solo: A Star Wars Story, and it’s still in plastic. No one is ever going to borrow that book. I wonder who ordered it.

Whenever I get back into blogging I realize how much I missed it. It’s so nice to journal out loud. And yes, lady by “New Non-Fiction,” I know my typing is loud. Sorry. It’s impossible to type quickly and quietly.

They probably think I’m playing a game or something. Heck, maybe I am.

 

How do people DO this art thing?! How am I supposed to deal? I never minded when college magazines would reject me because hey, they’re just as stupid about literature as I am, but a Big Boy Publisher? Damn, that will hurt. Of course I assume I’ll get rejected right out the gate.

I think it’s actually a good book, and that actually scares me more.

July

When I’m writing this, it is just past midnight on July 1.

Holy shit. July.

When I was seven, I wrote a poem–my first, ever–and titled it July. When I was twelve, I set my first novel entirely in July. And now, in 2018, I head into my busiest July ever. Busier than all those Camp Nanos I can’t even entertain the possibility of this year. Busier than any job or camp or anything.

I start July with a day of packing and frantic emails, then a week in Ireland, then three weeks straight of teaching summer school English, then Newport Folk Festival.

Then finally, in August, I get a breath.

I’ve been trying to attune myself to reiki, to feel the chi universe energy in my fingers, to make myself relax, but my jaw clenches up anyway and my stomach knots itself up and my forehead is perpetually cinched. My mouth is ablaze with canker sores, my face a minefield of acne. My body handles stress nearly as bad as my mind does.

I feel silly. All I’ve wanted for months and months and months was a job, and now that I have one I feel stage fright. That’s my best way of putting it. I’m scared.

July was always such a magical time as a kid, a month I spent all year dreaming about and writing about and waiting for with all my simple heart. Now…