Category Archives: Writing

Dialogue: Real Life Vs. Internal

New Friend: “So, Abby, what do you do for a living?”

Ooh. This social situation just got a little hairier than you’d expected. Do you respond with a long-winded, detail-stuffed explanation of your overly simple job? Do you simply call yourself a business manager and move on with life? Maybe you could get her to buy the story that you’re a writer by day and a Storm Trooper by night.

Me: “Actually, I’m a writer.”

Did you really just say that out loud?? Who the hell are you kidding? It’s not a profession unless you’re getting paid, ya dork. Maybe she didn’t hear you. Hurry up and tell the truth before…

New Friend: “Oh, really? Anything I might’ve read?”

Great. She reads. Didn’t expect that, didja? Congrats on hanging out in social circles with well-educated people who actually read books. Now you get to explain what you mean by ‘writer.’ She’s probably expecting you to mention The New Yorker, or a popular publishing house. Maybe she thinks you lunch with Stephen King. How are you going to even begin to describe…

Me: “Probably not. I’ve been writing blogs since 2007–one in particular since 2011. I am also seeking publication on my first novel, and working on a second.”

Ok. Not bad. That sounded almost convincing. Good on ya! You may have just convinced a stranger that you’re a writer by trade! Surely, nothing could go wrong at this point.

New Friend: “That’s fantastic! Does your blog bring in enough revenue for you to write full time?”

Damn. You totally thought you were gonna get away with this line of answers without having to explain that you do, in fact, “work” full time, even though your job consists of answering the phone and eating Cheetohs in your pajamas between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm five days a week.

Me: “I don’t actually make any money with the blog. I work from home, which allows me a lot of free time to be able to focus on my writing. It’s been a blessing.”

Ok. Ok. I take it all back. That made you sound savvy AND grateful. You go, girl.

New Friend: “So what’s your blog about?”

Your intangible relationships with famous people? Silly illustrated posts about a dream you had once? Your irrational fear of spiders? Conversations you thought were funny?

Me: “It’s a humor blog about our lives. I write about everything from my marriage to my hobbies and everything in between. It’s always been about finding the funny in day-to-day life, although I’ve been known to write a serious post every now and then.”

Right. We’ll go with that instead. Kudos.

New Friend: “How fun! And your book? What genre?”

This one might be dicey. You did, after all, write a book about a fan girl who enters a contest to win an internship with her favorite boy band. Since this new person hasn’t even scratched the surface with your New Kids on the Block obsession, nor seen your Pinterest board dedicated solely to Donnie Wahlberg, you’re skating on thin ice here. Don’t go overboard. She might only read biographies about important dead people.

Me: “I’m pitching it as contemporary romance. It’s about a 30-something woman who’s stuck in a dead end job that she hates. She finds out that her favorite band is hosting an online contest, looking for a new PR consultant, and she enters on a whim. She wins, and is whisked away on a month-long internship that results in adventure, personal growth, and love.”

Wow. You should write book jackets. For realsies. And look–your new friend is smiling, and nodding, and isn’t throwing canapes or empty wine bottles at your face. That didn’t just sound plausible, it sounded downright professional! Look at you, Ms. I’m A Full Time Writer Lady!

New Friend: “That’s really great. I’d love to read your work sometime.”

This is it! This is it!! Set yourself up right here for success….

Abby: *reaches into wallet* “Here’s my business card–the address to my blog is on the back. Stop by and visit sometime.”

Aaaaannnnd it’s a perfect dismount. Scores of 10 across the board, even from the stingy French judge.

Because every super hero deserves a pink tutu.

Because every super hero deserves a pink tutu.

Congratulations, Abby. You just called yourself a writer AND gained a new reader, all within one quick conversation at a party. Treat yourself to another glass of wine, you sexy beast, you.

Areas of Improvement

It’s the first of the year. Practically every human being I know is busy making promises to themselves about things they hope to improve upon this year. You might call it ‘making resolutions’ or ‘setting goals.’ Or maybe you just think of it as ‘making a list of all the things I want to do better this year, especially eating more chocolate cake.’  But either way, I’m banking on the fact that you’ve got a list of your own, whether it’s tucked into your brain, typed out on your smart phone, or taped to your bathroom mirror.

I hope success for each and every one of you, whether your resolution is to lose weight, or to watch every single item available to stream on Netflix in the next 356 days. (That’s a lofty goal, my friend. Let me know how it goes.)

I don’t really have goals that I’ve set in stone. Sure, it would be amazing to finally publish my novel, or start a new career, or lose 100 pounds. But instead of focusing on specifics, I’m instead focusing on areas of my life that I want to spit shine till they glow. In case you’re interested, here’s a compilations of those areas seeking improvement.

Blog 1

This probably isn’t a huge shocker for you guys. I’m intent on spending as much time writing in 2014 as ever before. Naturally, this includes AbbyGabs, but I’m also looking to finish the novel I’m currently working on and, hopefully, starting another.

In this same vein, I’m also looking to further my writing career this year. I’ve already signed up for my very first ever writer’s conference, PubSmart, which will take place here in Charleston in April. I’m excited, and exhilarated, and scared out of my gourd that everyone around me is going to be able to sniff out the noob in the room. (That would be me.) So I’m stocking up on extra-strength deodorant, holding my head high, and hoping that I’ll get something worthwhile out of this conference. Most likely scenario–I learn some stuff I didn’t already know. Best case scenario–I meet an agent who’s so excited to meet me and hear about my stuff that she’ll backflip herself right into a publishing contract with little ol’ me. Here’s hoping, right?

Blog 2

I don’t necessarily mean making more of the green stuff (although don’t get me wrong. That would rock.) I’m thinking more along the lines of budgeting. Saving. Building a nest egg. Finally buying a second car. That sort of thing.

Because between you and me, the first year of having Brian on a nurse’s salary, as opposed to a bartender’s salary, was a fun one. I mean, we were spending like we had money to burn. (Dolla bills, y’all.) So I’m hoping to curb that enthusiasm this year, and really start to build a good foundation for our financial future.

Blog 3

Big shock. Abby’s getting back on the weight loss train. Again.

Here’s the thing: I have never conquered my battle with weight. Not once. But, I’ll keep trying until I find the formula for success.

So I’m trying a different approach this year. I’m easing into it. Counting calories (because that’s crucial for me to be successful.) Drinking water. Making healthIER choices. Moving more and eating less. I’m taking Brian along with me for the ride, and we’re determined to whittle a few inches from our growing waistlines. It’s not going to be easy. It’s rarely going to be pretty. But we’re going to feel better, and sleep better, and have more energy to do the fun things we love. And that’s all the payoff I really need, in the end.

Blog 4

I can already hear a few of my closest friends rearing up to argue with me over this one. Here’s the thing: I’m a perfectly nice person. I smile at people in the grocery store checkout line. I make small talk with the postal worker when I’m buying my stamps. I’ll give you the shirt off my back if you need one, even if I’m wearing my ugly grandma bra. But there are 3 situations that turn me into a not-so-nice person.

I have road rage. There’s no doubt about it. Driving often frustrates me, and anyone who’s ridden in the car with me will attest to that. This year I want to find my zen behind the wheel and stop cursing so much at truckers who cut me off without even a second glance. (Peabrain.)

I have work rage. I’m less-than-friendly with certain customers because they’ve been so hateful and rude to me in the past. I get annoyed with other customers because they’re slow, or easily confused, or generally nosy. And quite frankly, my phone etiquette sucks. There are a lot of reasons for this that I won’t go into here on this public forum, but I’m going to work on being nicer to the people I encounter at work.

I have poor self-esteem. I mentally beat myself up all the time: over everything from how much I eat to what I say to people, and especially about my body. I think the words “Fat” and “Ugly” on a daily basis–about myself. I’m a nice person…most of the time. It’s time for me to start being nicer to me.

Blog 5

This is a fun one. I firmly believe that, in order to be a good writer, you also have to be an avid reader. And I do read a lot already, truthfully. But this year, I’m setting a goal for myself to finish 50 books in 2014. It’s not such a huge stretch–I’m sure I’ve read that much before. I’ve just never counted. So I’m going to make a list of the books I read, ones I plan to read, and challenge my friends to compete with me. I ♥ books.

And finally…

Blog 6

It’s no secret to our friends and family (and most of the readers here) that 2013 was a difficult year for Brian and me as we uncovered the truth behind our problems with infertility. It was a difficult path that we had to take together…and one that we’ll continue to navigate as we move forward with our plans to look into adoption this year.

I may not have a child in my arms by the time the Christmas tree goes up, but I’m hoping we will have made serious progress toward opening our home, and our hearts, to a child looking for us as much as we’ve been looking for them. We have so much love to give, and while we’re nervous about the coming challenges, we’re (finally) ready to tackle them head on.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *    *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *    *     * 

It may seem that I’ve set myself up for failure this year, with these lofty goals. And so many of them! But I firmly believe that we can accomplish improvement in every area of our lives that we want to, if we stay focused and driven. These are the things I want most for my life right now. And so if I want them, I have to work for them. Right?

“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”  –Louisa May Alcott

Year End Round Up (Yeehaw!)

Oh, how I miss you, readers. These last few months have kept me so busy that writing a daily blog has been…well, impossible. It’s something I hope to change in the new year.  So today I wanted to wrap up a few loose ends that have been flapping in the winter breeze since November. Here’s what you missed.

Nanowrimo 2013…
Remember how I told you I was launching into a new novel way back in November? And remember how, after that post, I never really updated you on how the whole thing was going?

Well, good news, friends and neighbors. I managed to complete the 50,000 word challenge an entire week before the deadline (thanks to copious amounts of coffee, an annoyance with social media that helped keep me focused instead of scrolling through my Facebook timeline, and a story line that just wouldn’t quit.)

nanowrimo1

I’ve already started editing the chapters I wrote in November and will continue the novel in the new year, so I can add it to my portfolio of “things I want to get published but haven’t yet because I can’t find an agent who will love me and squeeze me and call me George.” I do plan to spend much more time writing and seeking publication in 2014. (Don’t worry, you’ll read all about in my obligatory “Resolutions” post come January 1.)

Anywho, this novel is about a young woman named Robin, who is, by all social standards, a big ol’ nerd. She gets it honest–her father was such a major comic book fan that he named her after his favorite superhero’s side kick. Robin’s childhood was spent learning all about ‘nerdom’–finding an appreciation for comic books, reciting all the many characters from Marvel’s Avengers, and planning a trip with her Dad to San Diego’s famous Comic Con when she graduated from high school. But their dreams were dashed when her father stumbled into a robbery gone wrong, winding up forever paralyzed from a stray bullet. With his health declining, Robin–a news camera operator by day and a budding documentary filmmaker by night–decides to take matters into her own hands. She solicits the help of her best friend, Laney, and together, they head to San Diego to bring Comic Con to Dad, on film.

It’s a story about relationships: father and daughter, lifelong friends, a fan and her obsession, and maybe even a shiny new romance. It’s still a work in progress, and I can’t for the life of me figure out what the title should be. But it’s coming along nicely, and I’m pretty proud of that fact.

Pack My Pontiac Food Drive…
Remember how I told you I was pairing up with my friend, Lynda, to raise money for Crisis Ministries, our local homeless shelter? And that we were going to try and fill the back of my Vibe to the brim with nonperishable foods and supplies for their soup kitchen? And remember how, after that post, I never really updated you on how the whole thing was going?

Well, AMAZING news, friends and neighbors—not only did we exceed our $500 goal, we exceeded it by a LOT!

blog 3

Thanks to our friends and family, who were totally enthusiastic about our silent auction, we managed to raise a whopping $800, which went directly to Crisis Ministries. In addition, Lynda and I managed to stuff my little car with cleaning products, paper towels, dried pasta and beans, tons of canned good items, bottled water, diapers, and countless other items that will benefit those in Charleston who need it most.

Such a proud moment.

Such a proud moment.

WE DID IT!

WE DID IT!

We never would have been so successful if not for the generosity of others, so if you placed a bid, shared our page, made a donation, or even just cheered us on from the sidelines—thank you! We are already planning and scheming for next year’s drive. Who knows…maybe we’ll double what we made this year!!

What’s Coming for AbbyGabs in 2014?…
In truth, I have no idea. I can tell you that I plan to keep writing–both here and creatively–as long as my brain keeps working and the ideas keep coming. And I can promise that, whatever happens, it’ll be fun. So–thanks for continuing to support me and reading my blogs, few and far between as they’ve been in the past two months. Here’s hoping 2014 brings health, happiness, and prosperity to us all! (Read: an agent will sign me and publish my books, and we’ll all go to Maui together to celebrate over daiquiris.)

Happy New Year!

Recalculating…

About three months ago, I was as close to rock bottom as I’ve ever been. It took every ounce of energy to drag myself out of bed in the mornings. My idea of the perfect day was to stay in stretchy pants, veg out in front of the television, and just exist until it was time to crawl back into bed. (I wrote about it in an emotional post titled “Here’s The Truth.”) I was crying in the shower, in the car, in the office. I was crying while cooking supper, while folding laundry, while writing in my journal. I cried into my pillow, into the warm belly fur of reluctant kitties, into my pillow.

I was depressed.

One night, sometime in August, I verbalized my pain to Brian. Of course, he already knew. He’d been witnessing it all first hand. I’d been avoiding my friends and family for a couple of weeks, and he was right beside me during stretchy pants time. But I needed to find my soft place to land in him, confess my darkest fears and private feelings, talk it out with my best friend and confidant. Curled up on the bed beside him in the dark, my head in my hands, I poured out my heart.

He listened, comforting me through the hardest confessions, wiping away my tears, shedding a few of his own. And when I was finished, he looked at me in that way he has–like he can see into the depths of my soul. “When was the last time you did something that truly made you happy?” I pondered, going over the last few weeks in my brain. After several moments of silence, Brian smiled sadly and said, “It shouldn’t be that hard.”

“You’re right,” I whispered. “But what do I do?”

“You need to rejoin your life. We’ll always be sad about not being able to have a baby. Now we have to learn to live with that grief and still have a fulfilling life.”

I tucked his words into my heart like a precious jewel, and over the next few days, I cleaned myself up, dusted myself off, and tried to re-inject myself into life. Lunch with a friend, an afternoon shopping trip with another, a long telephone conversation with yet another. I opened the blinds and let the sunshine spill back in. Even though it hurt, I allowed myself to smile. And eventually, after some time, the laughter followed.

I wasn’t ‘happy’ again, but I was trying to be happy. And that was a mega-huge step in the right direction.

Infertility 1

♥     ♥     ♥     ♥     ♥

It’s November 12, nearly halfway through Nanowrimo, and I’ve never felt less inspired. My desk is littered with post-it notes filled with To-Do lists. My phone dings relentlessly with emails that need to be answered, reminders for upcoming events or meetings, private messages that require my attention. I feel like there are a hundred bees buzzing in my brain, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t turn off the noise.

My frustration reached a boiling point, and once again, I found myself turning to my husband for advice. I fussed about problems that aren’t mine to fix, whined about my lackluster word count, bemoaned my missing creativity. “I just don’t feel like a writer anymore,” I said. “I just don’t have the time or the inclination to do it.”

“If you didn’t have the inclination to write, you wouldn’t worry so when you aren’t writing,” he said. “It’s the time you don’t have.”

I sighed. “I know I’ve been really busy lately. I’m sorry.”

He looked at me in that way he has–like he can see into the depths of my soul. “When was the last time you did something that truly made you happy?”

This time I didn’t hesitate. I rattled off five or six things with relative ease.

“Let me rephrase,” he said. “When was the last time you did something JUST FOR YOU? Something that made you giddy inside? Just for Abby. No one else.”

I shut my mouth and, yet again, could offer no answer.

“You’re stretched too thin. Too many irons in the fire,” he said. “What are some things that brought you joy before?”

“My blog. Writing my book. Chasing my dream of being published.” The answers rolled off my tongue without much thought.

“So you need to get back to that, then. Start writing every day again. Pull out that list of agents and dust it off. Get back on the horse. I know you can do it. You just have to make time for it. Make it a priority again, like you did earlier this year.”

I heard his words and knew he was right. But in that moment, I realized what I’d been doing. In an attempt to learn to live with the grief of infertility, I’d been filling my life with things to keep my mind as busy as possible so I wouldn’t think about the things that had led me to my two-week long stretchy pants sabbatical.

I tucked his words into my heart where all his other bits of wisdom live. I let myself cry a little, to feel the sadness that is always lingering but that I hadn’t allowed myself to access in weeks.

The journey of mourning isn’t an easy one. We are learning in the process which avenues work and which ones don’t. We are making detours and getting stuck in emotional traffic and occasionally, taking a totally wrong turn and winding up in the wrong part of town. But the one thing I know for sure about all of this?

Brian is the most reliable GPS on the market.

Infertility 2

So. Freakin’. Busy.

My life has been filled with adventure these last few weeks. Birthday parties and dinner parties and bridal showers and photographing my first ever wedding and redesigning my blog and redecorating my house and spending time with visiting family members…my social calendar has been filled to the brim. Every single second of it has been exhilarating and fun, while simultaneously being exhausting and stressful. When I complete a project or finish an engagement, I get that short-lived feeling of fulfillment as I check another item off of my To-Do list. But mostly, lately, I’ve been feeling a little like this:

Pulled

Cartoon courtesy of Bitstrips.

You would think that after nearly 6 weeks, I’d be ready to kick back in November and take a little break. But nay, dear readers. Why would I do that? Life is so much more fun when you’re an active participant. So here’s a little list of what the month of turkeys and pilgrims and pumpkin pie has in store for me.

NaNoWriMo 2013
This will be the third year running that I’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month. In fact, between 2011 and 2013, I managed to actually complete an entire novel (which I’m still in the process of trying to get published.) Here’s the thing: both years that I’ve participated, I had a game plan going in. A story I wanted to tell. Characters that were as clear in my head as living, breathing people.

This year, I’ve got…<insert drum roll here>….

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zippo.

With one month to write 50,000 words looming over me, I’m feeling the pressure to come up with a brilliant idea, stat. I need a sedative, a 12-gallon cup of coffee, and a shot of creativity, please.

Pack My Pontiac Food & Toy Drive
Call me a sucker if you want, but the following video presented by Kid President got me all inspired and stuff.

*Abby wipes away a tear.* Seriously, that kid rocks my socks.

Anywhoo, by the time I saw this video, the month of ‘Soctober’ was already coming quickly to a close. So I decided to do some investigating and take the month of November to find a worthy cause to champion in the name of taking back the internet. And I have.

My friend Lynda and I are running a food drive for our local homeless shelter. It started out as a small idea and has since snowballed–I have a partner, we have a corporate sponsor, and we’re planning on doing some serious fundraising, yo.

Pack My Pontiac

So my days have been filled with sending emails and making phone calls, creating fliers and a FB page, and brainstorming with Lynda in the hopes that we’ll be able to pack the back of my car–and hers!–with a giant pile of items to donate.

It gets me all tingly and excited thinking about the possibilities.

And lastly (and potentially most importantly)…..

Pestering the Poo Out Of My Friends By Posting All The Christmasy Things I Can Find On Pinterest From Now Until New Years

christmas

Seriously. I’ve had to look at so many pictures of spiders in my FB feed for the last 31 days that I’m already my revenge, Rudolph style. (This isn’t really something that will take too much time or effort as I started pinning Christmas stuff in August.)

What’s on your calendar in November?

The Little Journal That Could

Things have been pretty tough lately. I know you’re familiar with the phrase “When it rains, it pours.” Well, in the last couple of months, the pouring rain turned into a monsoon, which flooded our lives with worry and sorrow, so much so that we attempted to build the Ark, but it sprung a leak and we wound up stranded on the Island of Despair with nothing but a pack of chewing gum and a plastic spoon, which we tried to use to create a happiness device but failed when the spoon broke.

Yeah.

When things start going wrong, I have an uncanny ability of only being able to focus on the “Woe as Me’s.” I’m constantly looking over my shoulder, waiting for the other shoe to drop. To be fair, since July, an entire Payless Shoe Store has been dumped unceremoniously, one shoe at a time, on my head. I know I shouldn’t focus so much on the bad when there’s so much good to be grateful for. But lately, finding the silver lining has been nearly impossible.

I managed to climb out of my self-made cocoon this weekend, and in an attempt to cheer myself up, did a little Sunday shopping. While perusing the aisles of Target yesterday, I stumbled upon this lovely little gem:

journal 1

I have a love affair with journals, and it was the colors of this one that first caught my eye. Cheerful, but subdued. Sweet but simple.

And then I read the quote on the front.

It felt like this little book was speaking directly to me from the confines of its shelf. I picked it up and ran my finger over the spine. And I knew I’d bring it home and turn it into a gratitude journal.

Last night, with my husband reading next to me, and a fat cat snoring nearby, I opened the journal and wrote out my mission statement.

“I will fill the pages of this little book with gratitude, appreciation, love, and positivity. And I will use the words I share here to soothe my soul and guide me back to the happy life I want to lead.”

 

I know there will be days ahead where I’ll have to really dig to find that nugget of appreciation to write about. There will be days when I feel like there’s nothing to be grateful for. But I will strive to find it. I will write about it. And I will change my attitude about the life I’m living, if only out of my own sheer force toward the positives.

journal 3

And it all started with the little journal that could.

Here’s The Truth:

I haven’t been blogging much lately.

depression 1

The truth is, I haven’t been doing much of anything lately. I get up, I put on my cookie pants, and I flop down in front of the television. I don’t so much as glimpse at my computer–in fact, I go to lengths to avoid it, because sitting down at my desk, even to answer emails, makes me feel guilty that I’m not blogging or writing or sending out query letters.

My Creativity has packed her bags and left. She didn’t even leave a Dear John letter. That bitch.

It’s not just my writing that I’m avoiding. I spend my days coming up with excuses to cancel engagements with my friends and family. It’s not that I don’t want to see them, it’s that I don’t want them to see me. Because I know that those people who love me will see only one thing, despite my fake smile and fancy hair and copious amounts of concealer I use to cover up the dark circles under my eyes.

They’ll see the truth.

depression 3

You’re thinking, “But you’ve had so much AWESOME this summer! How can you be sad?”

It’s easy to toss off the reality cloak when you’re on vacation or going to concerts, but those are the spaces between the pain that glow like stolen embers. I wrap my fingers around them and hold on tight. I close my eyes and recall those fleeting seconds of happiness, letting them warm me through, if only for awhile.

Because it’s been a tough year for me, for my family, for my husband.

While these awful things keep happening to people I love, I can’t help but sink back into my own cocoon. I wrap an afghan over my head and peer at the sunshine through the dappled yarn. I feel like it takes every bit of my strength to smile. Tears hover, unshed, just beneath the surface. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that there is potential for tomorrow to be better.

This is what it feels like to mourn.

It is a journey I have to take. And while I’m not the only one on this journey, there are parts of the path I have to navigate alone. Some days, as I turn the corner, I can see patches of funny and happy in the distance. Some days I find myself in a mire so thick and viscous that I don’t think I’ll ever fight my way out.

I’m staring at the blue Publish button and wondering to myself if I should just save this one for the archives. It is my truth, but is it too….truthy? I don’t want my mom to worry about me, or my friends to start arriving en masse with casseroles. It’s not as dire as all that. The button beckons me, and I know I’ll click on it, if only to explain my absence from this place that comforts me and offers me shelter. I want to find my way back to the silly that propels this place forward. And I will. I just haven’t reached that part of the journey yet.

Words, Words, Words

As a writer, words are so much more than a means of communication. Words are my foundation, my craft, and my passion. On most every day, I can manage to find the words to adequately express how I’m feeling.

Words

It’s true, however, that I’m a little more awkward in conversation: I write with more eloquence than I speak. Perhaps it’s because writing gives me the opportunity to pause, to decipher, to carefully select the perfect word, like the perfect morsel from the plate. Perhaps it’s because writing allows me to self-edit, backing up when my thought derails, removing the words that don’t quite express what I’m trying to express.

Perhaps it’s because of my readily available Thesaurus app. (Hey, now. Don’t judge.)

Either way, thoughts that I’m unable to articulate out loud often flow easily when I put pen to paper. (Or keyboard to cursor, as it were.) It’s rare that I find myself without words.

But it happens on occasion. And when it does, I find myself floundering, struggling for purchase, unsure in a world that I’ve carved out for myself.  I feel like I’m floating away a little from my own reality, like a boat cut loose from its mooring.

words 2 copy

I’m a writer. I should be able to find the words to describe this feeling. And yet, they elude me. That makes a difficult, uncomfortable feeling that much more unbearable.

So I’ll put down my bag of tricks, for now. I’ll give my adverbs the day off, and I’ll leave the alliteration for another day. Because even a writer, sometimes, can be left without the right words. Sometimes, as an artist, it becomes imperative to step back, let life happen, and wait for the storms to pass. Sometimes, even when the words can act like a balm to the injured places, they fail to present themselves for the healing that needs to take place.

I’ll be looking for them: shining my flashlight into the dark spaces, searching for the words that I know are in my heart somewhere. I’ll be pondering over them: waiting until not just some words, but THE words find me before I share them. And I know, with my writer’s soul, that I will find them. Eventually.

Pick Me! Choose Me! Love Me!

Hi readers. I miss you. If you’re feeling neglected, I wholeheartedly apologize. The truth is, I have a TON of funny blogs planned for you. I keep a list on my trusty iPhone, and I giggle every time I add a new idea to that list. But lately, I’ve been so completely absorbed with this one specific thing that my blog has taken the unfortunate role of second fiddle.

I’m talking about my novel, y’all.

author 2

(Let’s pretend that this is the real life cover.)

I’ve been editing this sucker since February. Adding scenes. Deleting scenes. Moving scenes around. Fixing timeline errors. Adjusting characterization to fit the story. Polishing. Nipping. Tucking. Perfecting.

It is a TON of work. It’s time-consuming. It’s thought-consuming. It’s SOUL-consuming.

And it’s SO MUCH fun.

As I’m finishing up the final edit, thoughts of potential publication keep creeping into my brain. I’ve already sent out one query letter to an agent in New York. (Tiny squee!) It looked a little something like …

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(Ok, so I didn’t do quite so much begging. Although, I might have come across as a little…needy. So I’m not surprised that I haven’t heard from her.)

It’s an odd process, that of seeking publication. Especially when you’re a first-time author with no previous experience. You’re basically sending a letter to sell them your story. You’re charged with presenting it in such a way that is creative, attention-catching, and interesting, without being campy or showy or stupid. You’re job is to convince them that you’re worthy of being one of their published authors based on your wit, charm, and amazingly good ideas. You’re supposed to wow them with your lengthy list of experience, which I’m sure for some people is an easy thing. But my experience as a writer goes like this:

I write a blog.

The end.

I’ve never been published (unless my high school literary magazine counts. Damn, does that count? *edits current form query letter*)

In a way, it’s sort of like wrapping yourself up and presenting yourself to them as the best gift they’re ever going to receive in their entire lives.

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Now, you try to refrain from chanting “PICK ME! PICK ME! PICK ME!” while you’re wearing a giant gold bow on your shiny forehead.

Don’t worry, readers. I’ll be around. I will finish this last edit, I will prepare my query letters and send them off to the list of agents and publishing houses I have selected. And then I’ll be sitting back and waiting for the rejections (and maybe one acceptance???) letters. Then I’ll have all the time in the world to fill. So don’t fret. I’ll be back. Very very soon.

Starting Over.

Today, I weigh 250.6 pounds.

There, I said it. The number—that dreaded, awful, huge number—that plagues my thoughts on a daily basis. It has been written out in bold print for the world to see. I am ashamed, I am mortified, I am disgusted.

But why? Why am I ashamed to share that number? Why does it make my palms sweat, and my knees weak, to think that people…not just my husband, but people I know…will see that number and think “Crap. She IS fat.”

It will not change how much my best friend loves me. It will not change the wonderful relationship I have with my parents. It will not cause people to un-friend me on Facebook, or unsubscribe from my blog (I hope.) 

That number—250.6—is just that. A number. It is not who I am. I will not be defined by that number. I will not allow myself to be defined by my weight, just like I won’t let myself be defined by my infertility, or my Southern heritage, or my liberal politics. I won’t allow myself to be typecast, pigeonholed, or labeled. Because I am more than the sum of my parts. I am more than a fat girl, a childless mother, a tree-hugging hippie. I am more that the definitions society wants to place on me as part of its stereotypes. 

There have been obstacles in my path so far–ones that I should have scaled over or navigated around–that stopped me in my tracks. So now it’s time to pick myself up, and dust myself off, and figure out just why I keep falling down to begin with. 

I may need a band aid over to cover my scraped ego. I may even need a kiss and a hug and a pat on the head.

But I will continue my journey, even if I have to tread through the brambles in order to find my path.

Who cares if I have to start over? Who cares if I’ve done it a million times before, only to fail?  This time might just be the time that it all makes a difference. So I’ll get up in the mornings and go to the gym that we haven’t visited in two weeks. I’ll count my calories and eat more vegetables and avoid my trigger foods. It’s back to the grind, back to the full time job that is trying to lose weight. I will tell myself that this 2 week layover was a setback, not failure. And I will move on. To a healthier, happier, thinner me.


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Abby’s Weight Loss Journey, Day One, is today.