As I said on Twitter, it’s apparently the list blog post time of year, so here is my contribution. I’ve been wanting to do an end of year post anyway, so let’s kill two birds with one stone. No, wait. I kind of hate that saying. What’s better? Let’s mash these foods together? No. Let’s match this outfit. Yeah, I don’t have anything better, but if you do, pop it in the comments! Onto the actual blog post! Full of excitement!
I know a lot of people have not had the best 2014, but 2013 was my shitty year (a lost a very important person in my life and just a bunch of other crap that made finding the happy parts harder but more important). 2014 has been actually good. And here are my highlights!
1. Won Best Fiction in the Write to Roar contest
I was feeling incredibly burned out at law school. I was doing well, in the top part of my class, had a summer job lined up, all of the checkboxes that “should” be ticked were ticked. And I was pretty much sick of it all. I mean, like close to quitting sick of it all. But two years in and I’m-not-even-going-to-tell-you-how-much in loans, and that was just not a reasonable or practical decision. Plus, what if it was temporary?
I took some time to evaluate my life during the spring semester and realized that I was doing what I usually do: obsessing until I break, just with law school this time. I missed being creative. I missed acting. I missed storytelling. Most of all, storytelling. And as if Life decided to do me a solid and sent Kalyani Magazine‘s first Write to Roar contest to me.
I jumped on it. It would be two weeks, and it fell when the semester was done. I just wanted some commitment that would push me to write something. I didn’t expect anything. At some point actually thought it would be best for me not to win, because even though the contest was open, I am not a woman of color. I trusted that the contest runners had the magazine and the contest’s best interests in mind.
It was the affirmation I needed. I was coming to conclusion that I am a person that needs to spend my life using both my left brain and my right brain (in the traditional ways we think about these things). As an actor, I just felt unchallenged intellectually (which partially was my own unacknowledged attitude toward my profession and I totally call bullshit on now). As a law student, I felt empty creatively (it’s a creative profession, but not in the creating of new worlds whole cloth kind of way). I needed and need to balance these things. Winning that contest right as a headed into my summer told me that I could create that balance for myself.
2. Published my short story, An Ineffective Devil
This one will not be so long. Promise.
Even though I hadn’t been writing for awhile, I still kept a habit of jotting down ideas when they came to me (usually while jogging). I finally finished writing this one. Well, I actually wrote it as two stories, submitted one, was rejected, and then had the idea that they belonged together. So, after a read through by my trusted, supportive friend, I submitted this to Crooked/Shift and moved on. It was the end of summer. I had people to visit, conferences to attend, and semesters to dread starting.
And then I got an email say they had accepted it! My very first acceptance. I mean, I published some stories on my own blog, but someone else also wanted it. Rock! And they published (pdf) it in time for Halloween.
3. I finished a very very very rough draft of my novel
For years I have been wanting to write a book. I had been working on this one for a decent portion of it, but after winning the contest and doing Story-A-Day (more on that next), I decided that now was the time. I set myself very very very low daily word counts, and started reading blogs and books on writing and upping the time I spent and the words to write. And I am completed a draft. It is needs a ton of editing, but hell, A DRAFT!
4. Completed May Story-A-Day Challenge
Spurred on by finishing the Write to Roar contest, I started looking for other things and came upon Story-A-Day. I was off for most of May, so what the heck, I decided to go for it. Actually, that was the impetus to start this blog. I wrote every day for the month. Mostly flash fiction because of how my brain was getting used to writing again and also how much time I had to do this with other life things trying to steal the time away. The feedback I got was positive and the whole experience set me up for writing the rest of the summer on my book and other stories.
And now for some non-writing-life happy. I love to travel, which I owe in large part to the aforementioned VIP who I lost last year. I luckily have some incredible people that I travel well with, so I make it a point to get out of the country as often as I can and mostly at least once a year. This year was Peru! FranklyRebekah and I only had a week, and after hearing all the other white people saying they were going to Macchu Picchu, we decided to go elsewhere and headed south to see the Nasca Lines (and after the Greenpeace fiasco, I am even happier at that decision and incredibly angry at those activists).
(If you are interested in my travels, you can check out my Instagram. My trip toy, The Burrito, photobombs the world for me.)
6. Hiked in Alaska
I went over the Bomber Traverse this past summer. And let me tell you, while I enjoy the hiking part, the climbing with boulders part of that trip was not my favorite. But I did it. I hiked up a mountain, didn’t die, slid down the snowy side, photobombed the bomber wreckage, slept on a glacier, hiked over another mountain, and then twelve miles of gorgeous Alaskan landscapes (possibly I also got lost a time or two but shhhhh).
It was one of those experiences you’re glad you had and will be better prepared for if you decide to have a similar one in the future. But the pictures are totally cool. Also, marmots are super cute.
7. Got a new tattoo
I’d been wanting a new one since I got my first one at 18. I had a rule then and a rule now, that no new tattoos until at least a year after getting one (I do not have this rule for piercings, but piercings are SO I’m in my 20s). Since I lost the VIP and another VIP the year before and just have had people lost throughout my life, I wanted to get something to keep them with me. My reader friend found Rachel Hauer to do her tattoo, and after checking out my work, I decided she had the style I wanted for my tattoo. This one hurt a lot more than my last one, but I am also so much happier with it. Even my mom and dad and aunt and sister all admit it is gorgeous, and none of them are into tattoos.
You are all probably wondering what it is, but ‘fraid I’m going to have to leave you hanging. I want to make it my logo/trademark, and I have to work out the logistics of that before it’s revealed.
8. Got a job
Maybe this one should have been at the top? My summer job turned into a real job. Or more accurately, will after I finish school and take the bar (and a long trip to somewhere else in the world). Mostly, I feel relieved and relaxed and incredibly grateful to have that one HUGE thing off of my plate before graduation.
9. Made editorial board for Law Review
In the overlapping portion of the Venn Diagram of law school and writing is journal. In February, I was selected as an Articles Editor for my school’s Law Review. I have had an … interesting time dealing with a vast array of academic writers. But even though it is not fiction editing, working on other people’s writing in a capacity to suggest ways to make it better, is helping me with my own writing and – fingers crossed – will help me once I get going on the edits to my book.
10. Ran the Santa Hustle
Let’s end on a silly note, shall we? I like to jog. For exercise, for me, to give my brain time away from to do lists and deadlines to just wander and put things together that needed to be thought through without trying to figure them out. But I don’t do a lot of races, because – mostly I think I won’t end up running and will have wasted the money.
But my mom and siblings wanted to run the Santa Hustle this year. So run with family? Hell yeah! We donned our Santa shirts and hats, running pants and jogging shoes, buckled a nephew into a stroller and took off. My mom finished the race without walking at all! I finished without having my normal breathing issues the whole 3.1 miles! And all of us stuck mostly together and hive-fived each other across the finish line.
All in all, this year has been a very satisfying one. So 2015, can you top this?