Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Occupational Hazard

Writing comes with an occupational hazard. We're not well. I don't know a single writer who says, "I am mentally stable," unless of course, they're seeing a head shrink. I'm not saying we don't have good days, because those do exist. But I am saying that many of us are plagued by self destruction, alcoholism, drug abuse, and a healthy dose of self loathing....which usually leads to suicide, and if not suicide, then missing ears, eyes, body parts, etc. Janet Reid recently posted THIS video. If you're a writer and you haven't seen it, watch it. (It's slightly less than 20 minutes, but it's incredible.)

Yes, this was a pitcher of beer
For a long time, I figured I would be like Sylvia Plath. She was a poet, and a writer. She was brilliant, and haunting, and I can't find any of her writing that is terribly happy. Her voice sounded like cigarettes (in my poetry class in college we listened to her read). My entire life I've had friends ask me to write something with a happy ending. Well, I didn't want a happy ending because I wasn't a happy person. I can't tell you how many times I've tried to kill myself. It's not because I've lost count, but because the lines of self destruction and actual attempts blur together for me now. I wanted to follow Sylvia. I wanted to hold her hand as the ocean waves carried me out, and have people say, "She was brilliant, and she (finally) killed herself." I wanted my writing to affect people the way hers affected me. 

And then this year, I attended AWP in Chicago. Margaret Atwood was a keynote speaker. She made a joke something along the lines of:

I've been around so long people are starting to question whether or not I'm still alive.

Brilliant woman. Still alive.
She was clever, and old, and humble, and funny. She had a spark in her eyes. She had wrinkles on her face. For the first time in my life, rather than wanting to die young, and beautiful, and fast...I wondered what it would be like to live to be 80 or 90, or like my granddad, 100 (he celebrated his 100th birthday this year!). Imagine the connections you could make with people, the lives you could help save. Imagine how many more novels you could write!

A few months after this I was invited to a middle school in Maine to talk about depression, cutting, eating disorders, etc. During my three week invasion, the option to kill myself became revoked. I fell in love with the students there. I told them they could have a future, and each day by querying, by putting myself out there, I am trying to prove to them that you can grow up in a shitty environment and come out swinging.

I'm not saying that every day it's easy to drive my car to work without the urge to veer it into oncoming traffic or off the cliff I drive by. (I actually had this conversation with one of my managers the other day.) Some days it's harder than others. But I don't do it, because I can no longer do it. I have something to prove to those students.

I may not live to make it to thirty. I may not make it to see 25. Who knows? But every day, I am alive, I fight the burden that many of the creative minds have. I am not mentally well, I've known this since I was in sixth grade. But as I said earlier, there are happy days. If live long enough for people to question my existence, I hope it will be a life well lived. I pray that I'll be able to stand in front of a room full of strangers and make fun of my age and the things I've been through.

The moral of all this is that as writers, we have an occupational hazard. We feel more than most people, and sadly those feelings aren't usually happy ones.

Don't give in to it. Don't die from your own hand. Seek help; support groups, therapy, psychiatric wards, friends, family. Live to joke about paramedics coming to your house and asking if you're still alive. Live to tell youngsters about paper back books when they existed.

Just. Live.

That's all.

Happy Monday :) (I know it's not Monday, but I didn't say Happy Monday yesterday, and this is how I roll)

Monday, July 30, 2012

I'm Visiting a Friend Today

I'm not here today, I'm over at Marilyn's blog talking about finding inspiration.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Free Tea For A Year!

You all know I'm broke, right? Well, did you know I'm also obsessed with tea? Well, Good Earth Tea created the Tea Tag Contest. I submitted. I am now one of 50 finalists.

So now I'm asking for your help (via every social networking medium I have!). All you have to do is go here:


Click the VOTE tab near the top. Search Lynne, and you'll be able to see my entry (and of course, it involves a dog!) You can vote up to five votes for the quotes, and vote daily! Please! Voting is closed August 1st!

Thanks tons!

Friday, July 27, 2012

And Baxter Ate... (Winners!)

As promised, I selected the winners of the One Stressful Sentence Contest. My sister made fun of me when I told her Baxter and I would pick the winners, but well..Baxter was responsible for this..so don't hate the messenger. I took pictures so you'd know it was still a random selection, but more fun than a computer generated way. Also, I'm not sure if you guys know, I have the best dog in the entire world...just sayin'

Step One:
Write all contestant's names on a piece of paper

Step Two:
Summon the judge and cut out everyone's names
(Notice the dog treats :) and how Bax is like, "You rang?")

Step Three:
Break off dog treats into folded paper names. Have the judge
wait patiently **Go lay down** (he knows there are threats there, but
I told him to wait. Good boy)

Step Four:
Say, "Okay, Go!" and allow the judge to choose

The Winners Have Been Selected!...With a bit of drool

In case you can't read that last picture, here were the first three winners:

Mara Rae with the sentence:  As far as stress goes... I'm incredibly stressed out at the moment because I'm moving to Russia in five weeks for our first Foreign Services post, and I'm trying to learn Russian, query my novel, and take care of my crazy two-year-old, all while getting organized for the move! :D

Well, it isn't much, but hopefully this will help!

Next up were

Andrew Leon with:  There was a time when I had a moving deadline and the apartment complex tried to bill me for damages caused by a leak from the apartment above us.

Super stressful! I have had many 'a bad living situation.

And Kelley Lynn with:  I am rarely stressed but sometimes I get slightly overwhelmed which is currently the case because I've got a number of pretty cool things happening with a few different manuscripts so I'm trying to throw all the balls up in the air and not have them hit me on the head.
Don't get hit in in the head! We're hoping the best for you!

So, Mara, if you wanna shoot me an e-mail (or comment, whichever you prefer) of what you want: Amazon or B&N gift card, query critique, or first five page critique.

Andrew and Kelley, if you guys want, you're welcome to choose a query or first five page critique, too :)

Thanks for participating. Hope you enjoyed the selection process!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Reality Check IV: My Generation II

**This is not a writerly blog. The winners to the One Stressful Sentence Contest will be announced Friday**

In December 2011 I blogged about reality. How I live in the Occupy Wall Street generation, and how we don't know how to make change, but there are some of us who try, anyway.

Recently, I'm sure you've heard of the shooting in Colorado. If you've followed my blog for awhile, you'll also know I become obsessed with shootings and tragedy. This one is affecting me in a different way than the others though, and I'm trying to figure out why.
It's hard to think that the world
can be so beautiful, and yet so
heart breaking

Maybe it's because James Holmes is 24, the same age as me. Maybe it's because usually these tragedies come from people who are older than me. But I think it's something with the age. The newspapers call him a man, like he's an adult. Most say, "A man entered a movie theater...." But to me, he's not. He's the same age as me. Most days I consider myself a kid, still. I'm not grown up. I suck at managing my finances. I'm not responsible enough to have kids. I'm a kid, a child. I learn new things every single day. High school still feels like it was yesterday.

It's taken me a couple of days to write this blog because I'm in such shock because of what has happened. I've seen stories in the echoes of the aftermath. There were brave "men" (also very young) who saved their girlfriends and lost their lives in the process. There were people celebrating their birthdays. There was a six year old girl.

And then there was this one person who lost his mind and killed all of them. I can't even get a handle on the tragedy.

I want to know why. I want to know what went wrong that this person would walk in and start shooting. I want to know what went through his mind (the newspapers tell me that he'd planned this for MONTHS. Months! I can't even plan today let alone tomorrow!) I've taken enough psychology courses in college to know that this isn't right. That something went wrong.

People aren't born thinking, "I'm going to bring a gun and kill as many people as I can." People break. Kids of all ages break. People like me break and try to kill themselves. So, what happened to break James Holmes, or Timothy McVeigh, or Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, and cause them to kill others?

I (try to) appreciate life in all forms
I'm not going to rally and say that Holmes should die, because while I do support the pro-choice movement, I don't like death.

I don't even like eating carrots because I killed the plant it came from to live. If I eat a lobster (I mean, come on, I'm in Maine, and they're super yummy) I say a quiet prayer of thanks that I get to eat the yummy-ness, and apologize to the creature I devour...dripping in butter.

I'm not going to say Holmes should be tortured, and hurt, and shot, and scared, because I don't like being shot at, hurt, tortured, or scared. When Klebold and Harris killed themselves, I was sad. When McVeigh was killed, I cried and prayed. I don't hate any of these people because I don't know them. I am incredibly saddened by the choices they've made, but I do not hate them. (Though, I do hate the driver who killed my best friend in high school, so if you hate these people, I understand.)

Death isn't the answer. More violence isn't the answer.

The answers come from understanding how something like this could happen and preventing it in the future. It's not more strict gun laws (though maybe people should have to take a psychiatric test before obtaining guns?). The answer comes from studying, from research on psychology, from not damaging our children, our friends more.

Okay. That is all.

Monday, July 23, 2012


With the assistance of blog hops, twitter, and other web-based wonders, The Submission Process has finally hit over 100 followers, and I can not express how much this means to me!

Can you tell? Clearly excited :)

Chances are, if you've been following me for awhile, you've heard me complain about finances, roommates, hating my job(s), or getting lost...or you know, the other perils of the real world. Which got me thinking....life is rough! But free stuff rocks!

So here to celebrate passing 100 followers is a contest.

The Rules:

You have one sentence. Technically it can be a run on if you're interested (who likes punctuation anyway?). But that one sentence needs to answer this question:

When and why were/are you stressed?

Seems simple, right? Only a four word question? You're probably thinking I've fallen off my air mattress and smashed my face into the wall...again. But really, you can do a lot with that question.

For realz, I sleep on an air mattress. Classy, huh? 

Your answer can be fiction, "In December, I was being chased through the desert by a lion pride for stealing the cub that resembled Simba!" Your answer can be non fiction, "Today Baxter stepped on my foot, scraped it all to heck, and then chased the neighbor's dog around the complex and refused to listen." Your answer can be poetry, "It was July the first time I heard you lie." 

One sentence. One to three winners, depending how generous (or lazy) I'm feeling. Winners will be announced Friday, July 27, 2012. 

Entries will be accepted from today (Monday, July 23, 2012) til midnight of Thursday, July 26, 2012. (Just leave the sentence in the comments)

The Prize(s):
As previously stated, I'm pretty broke, but I'm just so happy to have followers, I feel like I should maybe pay to keep you guys here, no? So there are a couple of options:

1) $10 Amazon OR Barnes and Nobel Gift Card.
2) Query Critique from me.
3) First five pages critique.

The Fine Print:

I am currently an un-represented author, so you may think my advice is full of crap. If that's the case, I'd encourage you to pick the $10 gift card. But I do and have attended lots of conferences. I have a fair bit of knowledge in the querying game, as well as the writing game. If you're one of those people who just wants an extra pair of eyes, I'd suggest going with either of the critiques, but it's up to you.

When you're broke, this may be your
main source of caloric intake...
(It's definitely mine)

Happy Monday!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Being An Adult

Every time I finish a check book, my heart sinks slightly. The one I'm currently closing spans from June 2010 to June 2012. When I die, if someone finds all of the carbon stubs, what will they see about the years I spent pretending I was an adult?

Well, they'll see in 2010 I had a lot of money. I mean a lot of money. My first two rent checks were $1,650 and $900. This, I can conclude was the last bit of money remaining from student loans. Those two checks were written to Stan White Realty, which was the summer we lived in Manteo. I went to California, the house I shared with three other people (one was my sister) had a second floor deck that allowed you to climb the roof. We drank, we went to Single's Nights, we had dance parties, we made incredible friends. It was one of the greatest summers to date.

The next few rent checks are to the alcoholic roommate when my sister and I (a year later) survived the hell that is bedbugs. There is a check where I paid a $10 shipping fee so James Frey could sign my copy of My Friend Leonard. Then, September 2011, the checks were written, the beginning of the end in North Carolina.
Saying goodbye to my check book. Yes, those are comics underneath  :)
Then the checks pick up to the craphole in Maine, where you can clearly see I was struggling financially. $114 here, $185 there. Rent was supposed to be paid on the.first, $400. Most checks are dated 2/23, 3/28, etc.

There are checks made out to writing competitions, to friends who shipped materials out when I had no printer, and collections agencies from my knee surgery in November.

The very last check in the book was written to my current landlord. It is a place of safety (currently), my very first apartment without roommates, with my dog. It's labeled as July Rent.

My check books, like all novel books, tell a story. To me, I read memories from happy times, bitter times, and better times. As long as the checks keep being written there is hope, and these carbon copies I'll keep to remind me what and where I came from.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Over at Falling for Fiction, they're hosting round two of the Hookers and Hangers blog hop!

If you missed segment one, it was the hookers of chapters, those glamorous sentences that keep you from putting that book down and tell you you can pull through one more chapter. If you get the chance, go around to the other author blogs. They will not disappoint you!

Today, we're focusing on the hangers, the last sentence of the chapter where you sit there and think, "OMG!" and keep reading though it's 2am and you have to be up at 5am for work.

Hangers from After Elizabeth (YA Contemporary)  in no particular order:

In the place of sorrow, I found fury. Pure, unadulterated, uncontrollable, fury.

"I run alone," she states, re-hardening, and bolts.

Even though I'm going to get expelled. 

If I don't exist to Claire Davis, maybe I'm not real.

It was the beginning of the end. We never should have gone.

But, I find myself thinking, at least she's my neighbor.

Ready for this to be over, I checked my watch. We still had four minutes left of our ten minute run.

There would be a score to settle very, very soon.

Who is this girl?

And the last one I'll put up for this:

Then there are the mother fuckers, like Chad Higgins, who recognize the rope, and push people like Elizabeth off.

This was an awesome blog hop! Thanks Falling for Fiction! I hope you guys got to scope out the other entries, too!

Also, check out Monday's post for a contest happening here at The Submission Process!

Monday, July 16, 2012


Over at Falling for Fiction they're hosting the Hookers and Hangers blog hop!

It's a two-part blog hop, so today, I will be posting the first sentences (Hookers!) of a few chapters from After Elizabeth. Tune in on the 18th for some ending (Hanger!) sentences.

In no particular order:


I'm sweating my balls off as I sit shot gun in a U-haul.

When Elizabeth came back to school on Wednesday, she couldn’t make it through an entire class without crying. 

The walls are pink? Really, Mom? Really?

Claire’s car comes to a slamming stop, and I’m jolted forward so hard the locked seatbelt is like a punch to the chest.

When Sunday was said and done, Baxter was dead, and my ankle was officially sprained. 

And one more, that's a little more heartbreaking:

It was winter the first time Elizabeth tried to kill herself. 

 I'm excited to see the rest of the hookers for you guys!

Sunday, July 8, 2012


So, I think I have people issues. Maybe I'm meant to grow up and become like Emily Dickenson. I should hole myself up in my house, have a secret shopper, and never go outside. I'm not meant to interact with people, they annoy me, most times I just roll my eyes and don't want to talk to them.

Except...maybe...I should still go outside and go hiking, longboarding with Baxter, you know, the usual. Just with no one else. Me, and my pup.

I think he'd be okay with that
Or maybe, just live in a writer's colony. I can deal with people who read, and who write, because they're reclusive like me. These people, they're my lifeblood.

Bottom line, I was supposed to be paying $15/month for internet through my neighbor. (Note: Neighbor, not roommate! Small victories!) Well, she told me to pay her by the 14th. (I'll pause while you check your calendars for today's date.....Yes, it is the 8th. Even still, not the 14th! It wasn't even the 1st of the month when this stuff went down.) 

So yea, during the week of rain (another one), I noticed my wifi wasn't working. Well it was...on my phone, but not my computer. People suggested maybe the rain was interfering so I waited about three days, and left a note on their door, which they didn't respond to.

Then she came home, and I confronted her. Her response? "Oh, we changed the password because we thought you were avoiding us."

Hmm...So...you don't come approach me directly? 

She then continued to say, "We don't want to supply to anyone in the complex."

Days later I find this is a lie, and she's still providing to another neighbor, and I'm irate. So now I'm pirating from someone down the street, but it's spotty and unreliable. Posts will be minimal until I figure out a solution. I'm sorry, and thanks for your patience. In the meantime, loathing of this neighbor has gone full force. She and her little friends recently set off fireworks RIGHT next to Baxter, who then RAN (with a look of panic and horror) toward the apartment. Here, she said, "If he was leashed, this wouldn't be a problem."

Right, because we all love ear splitting bangs going off RIGHT NEXT TO US. 

After that, it literally took ten minutes of coaxing Baxter to go outside. He was mortified. I wanted to punch her in the face. 

Anyways, enough ranting. On the writing front, After Elizabeth has gone through another edit, as well as The Right to Live. Both are now on submission, so that's exciting. I'll keep you posted if anything good happens :)
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