Not doing it all

This blog space has been very quiet. I’d say I’m sorry, but after finishing law school and starting a job, I found myself with too much to do, too little time, and mounting levels of stress. Something had to give. 

So I took a look. The job is necessity at the moment. My book is in (slow) progress. That left the social media and blogging. I made a choice. 

And basically I’ve been managing those feelings that tell you that you just have to get it all done and that if you don’t then the rest of everything is basically worthless. I’ve read the blog posts about how important a social media presence is to a writing career. I worry I’m shooting myself in the foot by setting this space aside. 

I’ve created more space to work on my book that I wouldn’t have if I were here. It’s going slower than I thought it was (n00b), which then made me fear I’ve been away from here too long. But I put one word in front of another, and one edit after another. It’s going. And at some point time will open up to more. 

So this post, written offline during a flight from Budapest to Milan (I don’t write well on planes), is to say, “Hello, friends. I am still here. Thank you for your patience. Here’s a picture of lovely Budapest in the meantime.”

How do you handle an overstuffed schedule? 

Lessons of Time and Place

Happy New Year everyone! I know, I know. Where the hell have I been these past months? Well, ‘where’ is a very good way to ask that. I’ve been in DC finishing law school; in San Diego taking the bar; traveling through New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Amsterdam; back in DC working; and in and out of Switzerland for work. My cat is none too happy about all of this, but really she should be used to it by now. (I am thinking about getting her a kitten though. #levelupcatlady)

But I’m back (for) now! I’m setting my intention for this blog now, and it is to monthly and hopefully more than that. This month: Lessons from Traveling. Continue reading

Epistolary Stories: Day 20 of the Story A Day Challenge

Today’s prompt is to write a story through letters (or the equivalent). My day started out with big dreams of making this story a visual one, as it is getting late in the day, I’ve decided to keep it simple. So, dear reader, please imagine these as chats on your favorite chat program.


[[June 5, 2005]]

Hey, you there? How was Morocco?!

[[June 6, 2006]]

I know sometimes you go invisible, so just in case you are there, I wanted to say hi. I hope everything is okay and your trip was fabulous. I can’t WAIT to hear about it!

I miss you. Thailand is beautiful, but it’s a little worse for you not being here.

[[June 7, 2006]]

Finally done with my day. You there?

[[June 9, 2006]]

Hey, I’m starting to worry.

Can you just let me know that you’re okay?

(And by starting, I mean, I’m worrying. 😉 )

[[June 11, 2006]]

You there?

[[June 13, 2006]]


[[June 15, 2006]]


[[June 19, 2006]]

ya there?

[[June 21, 2006]]

<<new salutation to check to see if you are online>>

[[June 24, 2006]]

Jax said she saw you the other day.

What is going on?

Can you just talk to me?

[[June 25, 2006]]

Look, you promised you would talk to me when…

Just talk to me. Please.

Please talk to me.

I am halfway across the world. I can’t just get on a plane and go face you right now.

This is why I made you promise. You have to talk to me.

[[June 29, 2006]]

I don’t understand. I just – Why are you doing this?

You just have to have one conversation with me.

Yeah, it sucks that it’s through chat, but

You just –

[[June 30, 2006]]

Remember when you said you didn’t want to ruin my trip?

That you wanted me to just go and have fun.


I kept swearing I wouldn’t guild you.


but this is just cruel. you are just being fucking cruel.

i’m crying you konw just sitting here crying. i cried last night. i’ve cried wiht my friends.

you know what i snot helpful when you are doing fucking research in someone else’s countyr:


fuck you. you can go fuck yourself.

[[August 4, 2006]]

Don’t invite her to my welcome back party.

Shit. Wrong window.

[[December 13, 2006]]

Back in the States.

If you ever wanna woman up and have an adult conversation about our (non)relationship,

let me know.

Shifting Perspectives: Day 19 of the Story A Day Challenge

Today’s prompt is to tell a story from shifting perspectives. I decided to move to a different story. This one is rather short (first day of work!), and captures a moment revolving around some unknown misunderstanding or difference of communication.

She texted her new friend for the … Actually, she wasn’t sure how many times she had texted. And called. She had her best friend text. A few times. She didn’t understand why the American girl didn’t text back or answer anymore. She had spent all day getting the tickets for the movie using her own money; she couldn’t give them back. She slumped down to the floor of her room, exhausted with frustration. Then she texted another time.

The phone went off. Again. Her friends were eyeing her from across the table. At least her phone was buzzing in the middle of the day rather than at two in the morning, when the feral dogs were particularly good at keeping her from sleeping if she happened to be awake. She couldn’t put it on silent; there was an important call for her research coming. Telling the girl she had shared an umbrella with to walk home one monsoon night how busy she was and that she couldn’t make the movie hadn’t worked. Asking her politely to stop calling and texting hadn’t worked. And when the guy had texted, a piece of her was suddenly violated and vulnerable. That was when she stopped answering at all. Do people here just offer their homes, movies, and constantly text after meeting someone on a rainy street once? Had she offended some cultural practice?

When the American explained the situation, she couldn’t believe that someone from her country was behaving this way. This was not normal, and the girl relaxed at that information. She took the phone and asked if the American would like her call the girl and make sure she stopped. They spoke the same language; it would be easy. She declined; she had already found the blocking function on the phone. These Westerners always doing indirectly what should be done directly. But she handed the phone back with a promise, should the American change her mind.


Third Person Omniscient: Day 18 of the Story A Day Challenge

Today’s prompt continues with the POV exploration: third person omniscient. Click to read first person, second person, and third person limited versions. Today is the last day of the challenge where I don’t also have a job, so wish me luck finding time to keep working on these!

The two women checked with the guard for when the last bus left. Last bus was a bit of a misnomer. There was one bus back at one time on Sundays. Sundays should be spent at home with family, but tourist dollars were worth small compromises.

One group of tourists broke off and went to the overlook first, but most headed to escape the summer heat with a swim. The scene was typical. Boys running around, risking their necks for smiles from uninterested, but polite women. Women whispering and laughing about how ridiculous the boys were, but letting those laughs look like encouragement.

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Third Person Limited: Day 17 of the Story A Day Challenge

Today’s prompt is to write a story from the third person limited point of view. I am using my stranded in Guatemala story to explore point of view. Click for first person and second person versions.

She and her friend had a leisurely morning, waiting for the country to finish mass so they could make their way to the reserve and have a day not trying to get anywhere. The coffee burned the roof of her mouth, because she wasn’t awake enough to remember to check how hot it was. The ride was uneventful, and once in the reserve, she let the lazy Sunday afternoon seep into her bones.

Although there were some other small groups playing in the water with them, the day wasn’t for making friends. They watched from their own nook of the river, dipping in and talking about everything but nothing. The whoops and splashes of the flirts at the waterfall put an edge in her relaxation. It was time to get out.

The group that had beelined up to the overlook when they had arrived exited the path just as she and her friend left the swimming area. It had to be deserted now.

“We should go now if we are going to go.” Her friend checked her watch. “We have enough time, right?” It would be close, but it would be worth it, judging by the chatter making its way to the swimming hole. They grabbed their cameras and started up.

Birds and bugs and plants and just a complete explosion of nature. Her heart lightens, shoulders relax; she eases into simply being. Her mind wandered to her mother’s talks of God and miracles, the way everything just fits. Tears gather in her eyes. Her friend placed a hand to her back and ghosted her fingers back and forth. She didn’t have to choke them back or play at some ideal-type emotion.

The climb down proved easier than the climb up. Her feet somehow sure where her friend was tentative. She led the way, picking the easy to grip rocks and roots. They emerge into the field before the gate, finally able to talk about the experience of the overlook, but their chatter died as they looked around.

Her brain knew something was wrong before it let her know exactly what, but her stress system tensed her up without waiting for a final diagnosis.

“Where is the bus? And the rest of the people?” Now that it had been spoken, reality laid in. They ran, “No” dribbling from their lips. It already left. She looked at her watch and showed it to the guard. Leaving late was one thing, but leaving early, the very last bus out couldn’t do that. He shrugged his shoulders and continued to close up for the day, mumbling something about another stop down the road. Her friend coaxed out a general direction and took off. She followed as best as she could. Someone just needed to get there before it left.

They were separated for no more than five minutes. They missed their (second) chance. How were they supposed to get off the backroads of Guatemala on a Sunday before the sun went down? Movement is best option, so they started walking. She was still lagging behind, parched and short of breath.

Her sunglasses don’t do much for how bright it is. Her head started to dully ache. Bright lights and little oxygen probably would do that to you. They should split up, so they had a chance. Her friend refused. No one was getting left alone right now. They kept going. Outpacing most of the New Yorkers they knew. Her lungs had trouble getting air in, and she started breathing through her mouth. This was not a good sign. She had to keep going. They had to get to town. If they slowed down, they would never get even close to making it. Her face felt red and blotchy.

She reached around her bag, and her fingers took forever but finally found her inhaler. She should have done this before they even started climbing, but she avoided medicine as much as possible. This current situation was not possible. Her friend was at the top of the hill by her second puff. They had to slow down. It was too hot, and they had no water. She could keep going, but not at this pace. Just a lovely Sunday stroll to safety.

She apologized as they started moving again. The worried look on her friend’s face changes, softens. Different kinds of worry play differently in the skin. This situation sucks, but they would figure it out. They walked together back up the hill and on to the next one, dust coating their feet. The pace worked for her, and though her headache was stubborn, her feeling of control came back. She picked up the pace a little.

The sounds of a car grinding the dirt as it made the curves they had passed made them stop. Someone was coming, and they wouldn’t have to walk all the way back! The truck appeared, bed half full of other hitchhikers. They jumped in the back, and she breathed in the wind and the dust. She was going to buy the biggest bottle of water she could find as soon as they got back.

Second Person: Day 16 of the Story A Day Challenge

Today’s prompt is to write a story from the second person point of view. I am using the story from yesterday as the base to explore point of view.
You can’t believe how few tourists are here. It’s the rainy season and a Sunday, but this place is … is like finding Eden that you know it should be overrun with young white people (mostly Aussies and Americans) searching for themselves and running away from their real lives. You and your friend laugh of the stresses of jobs and tragedy that brought you here.

She’s smiling and directing your attention to the half-naked men jumping off of boulders into water and resurfacing to ask for a smile with an “eh eh” from the girl with the tattooed bows and stockings on her legs. She smirks and huffs through her nose. You and your friend turn away to laugh.
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First Person: Day 15 of the Story A Day Challenge

Today’s prompt is to write a story from first person point of view. The challenge is going to play with point of view coming up, so expect to see this story (based on personal experience) repeated over the next few days.


Sundays in Catholic country are always difficult for sightseeing, but seeing as the two of us are Jewish or Protestant Americans, we forget this travel truth. We had made plans over coffee brewed from the finca outside of the cafe to go to this nature reserve. It was open for a half day, so easy-peasy decision to make. We also forget that not everyone runs on American timetables even though we only travel outside of the U.S. Time habits are hard to break.

Once we arrive at the reserve, we check with the gate, asking in tourist Spanish when the last bus heads back. Four in the afternoon. We look at our watches. I only wear mine when I’m traveling; at home, I am on time if I leave on time and my life has enough clocks in it, I don’t need one strapped to my wrist.

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