So it’s New Year’s Eve. I’m about to close another chapter of my life and begin a new one. I already wrote what my New Year’s resolutions are and about what I hope to accomplish in 2014. Now I’d like to look back on my best moments of the past year. 2013 was a pretty crazy year. It’s definitely had its ups and downs, but overall it was pretty cool and if 2014 follows a similar path I’d be quite alright with that. Here are my Top 10 Moments From 2013.
10. Meeting Casey In Real Life.
I think this can go on two lists: top 10 best moments and top 10 worst moments. Casey and I were randomly brought together in 2012 after meeting online through my writing for Bit Rebels. We became very quick friends and I ultimately ended up falling in love with him. For awhile we dismissed having a real relationship since he’s 34 and I’m 23 and he lives in Florida and I live in NJ. However, the more we talked the more our friendship grew and we just wanted more. It started to seem possible and like it was meant to be. We made our relationship official on April 1, 2013.
We started planning when we would meet for the first time in real life. We knew it was something we had to do it was just a matter of when. Casey was an avid traveller and used to these things so the plan was he’d visit me. Originally we planned to meet for his birthday which was in July. However, when he learned that my birthday was in May he quickly changed his plans.
Casey and I met for the first time on my 23rd birthday which was May 8, 2013. We spent the next 3 days together hanging out at the mall, seeing movies, going out to eat, and I even took him to Rowan for a book signing event. We had a great time and even though we broke up a month later, it’s something I will always remember.
9. Valentine’s Day
For those of you who don’t know Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday. In 2012 I was dating a real jerk that made things really bad for Valentine’s Day. I was single for it in 2013 and couldn’t have been happier. I had off of work and I treated myself to an iPhone. I previously only had a crappy Cricket phone that couldn’t really do anything. I fell in love with my iPhone instantly. I don’t know how I ever went without it…this phone is amazing!
Here’s the first picture I took with my iPhone…notice my candy heart earrings and heart headband…I get really into Valentine’s Day!
8. Grounds for Sculpture. My mom always has off on Wednesdays and weekends. When I worked at Walmart I had off every Thursday and that was about it. One week I got lucky and had off on a Wednesday. We wanted to do something fun and different together as a family so we gave Grounds for Sculpture a try. It was such a fun day! I can’t wait to go back sometime. There’s so much to see! Here’s a few of our pictures:
7.Yellowcard Concert Yellowcard has been one of my favorite bands for years and their Ocean Avenue album was practically revolutionary for me. I listened to that album thousands of time. Pretty much every single song on it is very important and meaningful for me. When I found out that they were doing a 10 year acoustic anniversary tour for the album I just had to go. I definitely wasn’t disappointed. You can check out my full review of the Yellowcard Ocean Avenue Acoustic Tour Here. Here’s some videos from the show:
6. Commencement. I actually graduated in December of 2012, but my commencement wasn’t until May of 2013. I’ll be honest, Commencement was a little disappointing to me and I thought my community college graduation was 1000x’s better,but it was still a nice final “hoorah!”. I achieved something no one else in my family has — not just one, but two bachelor’s degrees.
5. Christmas This was the best Christmas my family and I had for a long time. It was the first Christmas in our new home and we were all happy and well. The past few years have been rough with losing family members and financial struggles. We were very financially stable this year which definitely helped, but at the same time we always remember the true meaning of Christmas. Just having a nice day together was one of the things that made this year’s Christmas so special.
4. Working at Webimax I started 2013 still working at Walmart and it made me completely miserable. I hated it. I worked very hard and pretty much all I ever got was a hard time from everyone and taken advantage of by co-workers and management. I constantly applied for “real” jobs but the job market is no joke these days. Seriously, if you’re looking for a job good luck at getting so much as an interview. My job search lead me some interesting places…such as hundreds of miles from home in the middle of nowhere also known as State College PA:
I interviewed for a digital journalist position at Accuweather. I was really late because apparently it’s really easy to get lost in the middle of nowhere. They didn’t like me and I didn’t like them much either. No surprise I didn’t get this job. I’m quite thankful for that…I was less than enthused about the idea of moving to State College.
I applied to Webimax several times over the course of 2013. The first being about two days before my trip to State College actually. I applied again when they announced they were hiring over the summer. I never gave up on them because in my heart I knew that was my dream job and where I really wanted to be.
I was interviewed for an Inbound Marketer position around the beginning of July. The interview went extremely well, but unfortunately they were unable to hire me at that time. So my job search continued as I remained a cashier at Walmart.
Then everything began to fall in place. I had an interview set up with The Christian Post. It sounded promising except for one thing…the interview was to take place in NYC on 9/11…not a time when you want to go to the city. It was also a 100+ degree day…not ideal for wearing a business suit and walking around the city…
God works in funny ways. As I was stressing over my Christian Post interview I got an email from human resources at Webimax with a job offer. I accepted immediately.
Now I have been working at Webimax since September. I love it so much. I have learned so much about the world of SEO and I always look forward to coming into work each day. My boss and co-workers are amazing. Everyone is so smart, creative, and fun. I definitely made the right choice accepting this offer and I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for me at Webimax.
3. Reconnecting with Old Friends I lost touch with a lot of friends during college especially when I transferred into Rowan. This year I started to reconnect with some and it’s been wonderful. I definitely need to give a shout out to Pam here. Pam, you’ve been a wonderful friend to me always. I always enjoy having tea with you and learning all about the cow apocalypse.
2. Moving to Washington Township I lived in Woodbury for about 9 years. It was supposed to just be a temporary thing but it didn’t quite work out that way. Woodbury’s been good for me over the years. The high school was amazing and I have many great friends from Woodbury. I love the diner, too. It’s my happy place. However, our house really sucked. Everything was broken. See:
The condo we moved to in Washington Township is much nicer. Nothing’s broken, we have counter space in the kitchen, we have a dishwasher, washer and dryer, and even a sunroom! The area is much more quiet, peaceful, and safe as well. I frequently go for walks around town and morning runs. Here’s some pictures of the new house:
1. Meeting Sean Forbes Seriously though, did you expect anything else to be #1? Sean Forbes is absolutely amazing and meeting him was everything I hoped it would be. I love all that Sean is doing for the deaf community. He has so much talent and is just amazing. I saw his show at The Rotunda in Philly back in October and it was just amazing. I loved the vibrating stage and how he signs and everything it was just great. I got to talk to him before and after the show and he was such a sweet heart. He actually remembered me by name through Twitter! I was amazed that he remembered! He definitely cares about his fans!
2013 was a pretty cool year. I’m really looking forward to what 2014 brings!
Image credits: Tulip Driven Life
Let’s face the facts: if you’re a writer you’re going to write about your own personal real-life experiences, even if what you are writing is fiction. It’s only natural and something that all good writers must do. Sometimes things in our life can be defined as tragedies. Tragedies are events in which have the ability to leave many permanent emotional scars on us. They change us, for better or for worse and are not things that easy to just simply “get over” or even come to terms with or make peace with. This is part of what makes tragedies great for writing inspiration. When we write about our experiences dealing with tragedies we are allowing ourselves to free our souls of things that may have been buried deep within us for some time. In a way it can be like searching for our own sense of inner peace, understanding, or acceptance of the situation. It can also be a way to solicit advice to others that may be dealing with a similar tragedy in their life, or even just a message that they are not alone.
Image Credits: izquotes.com
Unfortunately, in order to get to that point of inner peace or soliciting of advice, we must recall and un-bury the tragedies we have dealt with. This can be a very emotional and difficult task, as I saw for myself as I was working on my young adult novel dealing with themes such as teenage depression and suicide. Writing the first draft of my novel hasn’t been very difficult, until I got to chapter 9. Chapter 9 is the novel’s climax and most emotional chapter. In this chapter one of the character commits suicide.
My young adult novel is fiction, but it is largely based on real life experiences. A close friend and former classmate of mine committed suicide when I was 12 years old. Even though it happened about 9 and half year ago, it is a tragedy that has forever changed me. My goal with writing my novel is to inspire others to get help, speak up about mental illnesses, and prevent them from having to experience the same tragedy I myself have experienced.
Image Credits: Pichu318 ‘s DeviantArt
In writing chapter 9 I was forced to recall the suicide of my friend. Every little detail from what happened before his suicide, when I found out about it, and the aftermath.I procrastinated a lot while working on this chapter because at times it was just too painful to deal with. I try to block out the pain I felt when he first committed suicide, but for my novel I needed to remember it all.
One thing I did to help free me of my procrastination and to help me get chapter 9 done was I live-tweeted the events to the best of my knowledge. I recalled what my day was like at school on the day of my friend’s suicide. I tweeted about what happened after school, how I found out about his suicide,his viewing, what went on after that. I tried to write down every single detail I could remember. It took me three hours and over 100 tweets. I did it consecutively without stopping. I felt that it was the only way for me to “get it all out”. I was afraid that if I took a break I’d never finish it.
Image Credits: Press Index
I understand that some tragedies may be too deeply personal for an author to live-tweet about or post on any form of social media, but social media isn’t the important thing to worry about. The important thing is that you’re writing. Even if it’s just in a personal diary…WRITE! Write everything you remember about the tragedy. What happened before? What happened as the tragedy took place? What happened afterwards? What were you thinking? What were you feeling? Do you remember who you were with? What was said?
When you write about the tragedy try to recall every single detail as accurately as possible. This will help you to reflect on the tragedy and how you handled it along with how others handled it. You don’t have to include it all in your novel. Feel free to use bits and pieces and fictionalize it as much as your heart desires. Once you have the tragedy written out scene by scene, fictionalizing it will be easy. The hard, emotionally challenging party of writing it all out is already done with.
Don’t be afraid to write about tragedies. Many of the greatest works of literature are tragedies (Shakespeare, anyone?). If you’re writing fiction there’s no need to worry about the truth, either. Tragedies help people connect and relate not only to your story, but to each other. By writing about tragedies you will be doing someone a favor, someone who may feel alone in their situation will read your work and say, “No, I’m not alone. This person went through the exact same thing.”
Image Credits: Chasing Death: Losing A Child To Suicide
In sum, my advice to you in dealing with tragedies as a writer is this: cry. write. cry. and write some more and don’t stop until you’re finished.