Archives For On a Personal Note…

I’ve mentioned a few times here that I’ve been in kind of a weird place lately. I’m not really sure what it’s all about. I’ve just been feeling really introspective and like I needed a change, but I wasn’t sure what. I’m still not really sure I have all the answers, but I’ve decided for now to just follow my heart. I haven’t been feeling as motivated to work on projects or blog posts and I’m giving myself permission to let that go a little bit. I started another part time job this week that will keep me pretty busy for a while and we’ve had issues with our internet lately, so it makes sense to slow down on blogging right now. I’m not saying that the blog is over, just that I need some time to figure out what I want. Writing here helped me through a difficult time in my life and I don’t want to abandon it just because I’m having a late-twenties crisis.

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Have any of you ever been through something similar, when you feel like something just isn’t quite right in your world? Or is it just me making life needlessly complicated? I do think that it might be time for me to find a new hobby. Blogging is not bringing me the joy it once did and has become a bit of a chore. I’m not quite ready to let it go, but I’m not holding on all that tightly either. We’ll see where this leads me.

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The reasons why I’m considering trying my hand at creative writing are another story for another day, but today I’d like to tell you about a book that has been indispensable in my self-directed learning on the topic. Despite having a BA in English I have never, ever taken even a single creative writing class. I simply had no interest in writing fiction, and the concept of creative nonfiction was unknown to me until very recently. All of my English classes focused on literature and theory and I wrote a lot of papers, a few poems, but never a single story.

I know that one does not simply write a book without any prior knowledge or experience. I knew that writing the kind of book that I would like to read would be difficult. I had no idea where to start the process of learning how to write fiction. So I googled and read reviews and this book was a clear frontrunner. The paperback version is relatively inexpensive on Amazon, but because I wasn’t sure whether this would be more than a passing interest I checked it out from my local library instead. I should’ve just ordered it straight away because it is excellent. I’ve been taking copious notes and will probably purchase the paperback to keep for reference. I checked out another title on creative writing in audiobook form and didn’t even finish it because it was so theoretical. The Making of a Story offers concrete guidelines, examples, and exercises. It really is like taking a class, but it was free and I don’t have to go anyplace (my two reservations about taking an actual class).

If you’ve ever wanted to get into creative writing but didn’t know where to start, or if you’ve tried it and weren’t pleased with your results, give this book a read. I feel so much more confident now and am excited to start writing soon (I’m still in the planning and contemplation stage now).

After making a solo trip to Atlanta weekend before last, I felt so refreshed that I didn’t even mind packing back up to head out again this past weekend. This time Nick and I went together and it was fabulous. We spent Friday night at my parents’ house in Slidell and then Saturday morning left Jack and Juliet behind to get spoiled by their grandparents. We drove east through Mississippi, then headed south and took a ferry from Dauphin Island across the mouth of Mobile Bay. It’s a route that I’d never taken before, and both Nick and I enjoyed the ferry. We were having so much fun that Nick took my picture. Don’t I look relaxed and happy?

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A few moments later, another passenger started feeding the seagulls cheese puffs. I thought it mildly inconsiderate, but Nick was much more concerned. “Let’s go get in the car,” he said. “These birds are about to start crapping everywhere.” I told him to stop worrying so much and just enjoy the rest of the ride. And literally, right that second, I looked up and saw bird poop flying at me in slow motion. Fortunately(?), it landed on my face and sunglasses, rather than in my hair or on my clothes, and I was able to clean it up pretty easily with some baby wipes I had in my purse. At least I was able to laugh about it!

The ferry deposited us in Fort Morgan, a rural stretch of coastline about 15 miles west of Gulf Shores. It was, in a word, amazing. There were no high rise condos, no traffic jams, no crowds. I’m not sure I even saw a streetlight. There were two restaurants and a whole lot of adorable beach houses.

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We were there to meet up with some of Nick’s friends from college who were staying there for the week. They’ve been doing fantasy football together for years and now that they all live in different states they meet in a central location for their annual draft. It’s not exactly a kid-friendly event, hence the decision to leave Jack behind. We only stayed for one night and I’m not sure we could have handled anything more. Those folks know how to party!

As much fun as I had visiting with old friends and pretending like I was 21 again, my absolute favorite part was the few hours in the afternoon during which everyone was drafting their teams. I’m not in the league and have no interest in it whatsoever, so I took the opportunity to hang out on the beach by myself. Considering that the last time I was at the beach I had my two year old in tow this was pretty great. When I started to get burned, I moved to the shaded deck where I sat and read. I really enjoy spending time alone and I don’t get much of it these days so I savored every moment.

That night we stayed up entirely too late doing things we’re entirely too old to do, then the next morning Nick and I slept in til the leisurely hour of 8am, bid farewell to various people sleeping on various surfaces, and stopped at the local restaurant for a quick breakfast before hopping back on the ferry and beginning the slow transition back into reality. I never would have thought it’d be worth it to drive all the way to Alabama just for one night on the beach, but it so was!

Jack has been sick all this week, maybe the sickest I’ve ever seen him. He’s got strep throat but is also really congested in his chest. Every time he coughs he turns to look at me for reassurance.

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We’ve been spending almost all of our time snuggled on the sofa watching Sesame Street. I am loving all the cuddles but ready for my sweet boy to start feeling better! The good news is that after a rather restless night spent in our bed last night he does seem to be getting back to his old self. The cough is lingering, but he’s not nearly so pitiful.

It’s hard for me to spend three full days sitting still–if I have to watch one more episode of Sesame Street I may die of boredom. I’ve got a whole list of projects to tackle and errands to run. Fingers crossed that we can get back to normal today!