Front Porch Stories: First Drafts, Old Tech and New Doctor(Who)

coffeemonday

  1. This week will be the week that I FINISH MY CURRENT WIP’S FIRST DRAFT. Listen. That is cause for celebration. This year has been busy and noisy with doing all the preparing and work for the part that comes after the writing. Committing to the intent of seeking literary representation to publish. But the writing? It falls away. Slips through the cracks. Writing something new while still living with one foot somewhere else is like balancing yourself on a line that doesn’t stop moving. It’s clumsy and full of stop and starts and gets pretty dark and dangerously close to feeling impossible.
    abedSo, this month has been about detoxing. Stopping my hand from pouring energy into unproductive places and instead focusing what’s here on my burners. What I can tweak, change and taste. Getting to know Ana Maria, all her friends, and walking around this coastal, diverse, blue-collar town has let me reconnect with the writer who stares out windows while stitching together words. That’s where I am now. I’m writing and threading this impossible string through this story about townie girls falling in love and figuring out what it means to be in the part of life between when the first thing ends and the rest of your life starts. This is the story cut from a rib. Spanish dialogue without italicizing, complicated girls, best friends and a little bit of magic?
    iminlovewithyou
  2. And speaking of falling in love and remembering how to finish a first draft again, I’ve had help. I’ve had old school help in the form of a device that only does one thing.
    uhWHATOh, yeah.
    I’ve made myself put down my spaceship phone, step away from the control center computer and pull out the classic iPod and ALPHASMART.PicsArt_1413165677818AlphaSmart 3000, bitches.
    It clicks and clacks and it’s just that greenish screen and me. The geeky 90s girl in me will always delight in these relics. These big, clunky techy pieces with their sturdy plastic and singular function. I write and I write and I don’t get hung up on details, and then I plug it in and watch the letters flow. Literally. I hit Send and the words just pour into Scrivener and the word count climbs and is this magic? Cause it sure feels like it.
  3. By that earlier picture you can see that I’m still watching Parks & Rec, and no I will not disclose how many times I’ve gotten to the end in that elevator and come back around to them worrying about the pit, but I am fitting new Fall TV into my diet and so many shows have fallen away to the place where I’ll binge them sometime in the future, but one that I HAVE to watch live is Doctor Who. After last week’s episode I’m firmly back in the TARDIS with the Twelfth Doctor. I was unsure, I’ll admit it. But because he’s been so unsure. Clara is getting to be a character instead of a mystery now, but she’s got a boyfriend drawing lines and projecting his crap on her, and I didn’t want her to become another man’s canvas. (A dude asks you, “We clear?” and you GTFO.) This impossible girl deserves more, and suddenly I saw it in this adventure with this Doctor. Her Doctor. This grumpy, hyper, posh Doctor who is trying to figure out this regeneration as hard as we are. I fell in love with this season on the Orient Express.
    12thdoctorI love the young ones. The whimsical and dashing ones. The pained ones. I ship them all, waving my fangirl flag without shame as I bury it in the TARDIS and claim it as my own. But here we’ve got someone dark, carved and mysterious. And there’s no unringing this bell.

Lazy Girl, Clumsy Crafts: T-shirt Pillows

Sometimes the right wind blows and suddenly I’ll think I can do crafty things. I’ll see something and it looks…doable. And that’s dangerous for me, because my eyes will narrow as I consider all the accessories I should buy for this new thing. I’ve dabbled in plenty. I’ve got a scrapbook and a box full of bits of paper I could maybe use in another one if and when that wind hits me. I hit the thrift store hard. Before Macklemore I was in there buying old man shirts and housewife dresses. We all know my affinity for secondhand stuff.

Basically I’ve got stars in my eyes and a glue gun in my hands.

Two years ago my mom bought me a sewing machine for Christmas. I come from a long line of seamstresses and I wanted the ability to make my own stuff. I wanted the power of watching something tangible come together. I wanted to make something cool with the pieces of something else.

But despite all the fervor, the machine sat in that box until two days ago.

I know, I know. But the box became a table of sorts and blended into the furniture and I’d glance over at it from time to time and think maybe, but then I pictured a needle flying inches from my clumsy hand and remembered there are fractions. And I can barely draw a straight line.

Did I mention that I’ve never, ever used a sewing machine?

But then that damned wind blew.

Continue reading

Selfies and YOLO and not quite Dirty Thirty.

Originally posted on Kristine Wyllys:

Today, world, I am 29.

image

There’s really no point to this picture, other than the fact that I look super stoked/slightly shocked.

I really feel like I should be more affected by this. I mean, this is it. This is the last year of my twenties. You know what happens after this? THIRTY. And you know what happens after thirty? I hope you do. Otherwise we need to talk, in depth, about the state of our educational system. Also common core. We need to talk about common core. GOD. COMMON CORE IS THE WORST.

That’s another bitch for another day, though.

But today I am 29 and I feel like I’ve learned a hell of a lot in my 29 years, NO THANKS TO THE COMMON CORE, and I thought, you know what? I’m gonna kick off this first day of my last twentieth year talking about some of…

View original 1,391 more words

Front Porch Stories. (BFF = Blanket Forts Forever)

coffeemonday

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of blanket forts. Truth be told, I’m always thinking about blanket forts. And not in a nostalgic or cute way, but in a This Is How I Get Through The Day way. Once it was a small closet that became something more, and a million lives ago it was a clubhouse with a slanted roof in my backyard, but I’ve always been the introvert that needed the escape, even when I didn’t know to call myself an introvert. When I got words like “shy” and “homebody” whispered with my name.

Now I know about the science of these things and that my need to collect mind settling things, and fill my nest with them is how I cope. It’s also how I celebrate, how I stay level and how I gratefully spend my time without guilt.

There’s no use for guilt in the blanket fort. That’s like rule one of blanket forts. There are no voicemails and only clear calendars. We give so much of our time to other people and stressful things and in the blanket fort it’s all about staying weird and happy.

So, in celebration of this, today’s Monday 3 are the three things I’m filling up my blanket fort with during these rushed, anxious days in an effort to keep my head space cool, calm and somewhat together.

  1. Parks & Rec.  I can’t and won’t stop watching this show to the point that I’m on my fourth? go at watching all six seasons. Here in the fort I will obsessively lean on something to the point that you may wonder if I intend to watch another show yet, and the answer is no. I find my groove, and it’s a world of comfort to click Next Episode. The noise of Pawnee lulls me to sleep, chatters behind me while I write, celebrates me when I get a break. This is where I live now, and I’ll be here if you need me. okayweirdo
  2. Chai Lattes. I’ve never not been a coffee drinker. I won’t tell you what age my Cuban grandmother and Colombian mother started letting me have café con leche, because that’s not here or there and it was the eighties. But I’m not a fancy coffee drinker. In college my best friend dated a barista at Starbucks and we’d go all the time and I didn’t like any of it. All of it tasted too syrupy and Not Coffee to me, and I just wanted the coffee I was used to, sweetened with some milk, and preferably in my own mug. (We’ve established I’m a creature of habit.) Recently I discovered the new seasonal scent Woodside Library by Glade and just from the bottle I knew I had to have it. And it smelled like books and leather? Oak? Please, I’ll take them all.IMG_20140921_210522I mean, honestly. Look at that midnight blue and that bookshop door inviting you in and suddenly I’m having a lot of thoughts about a bottle. Reading the description it mentioned that it also had notes of chai tea. Now, I went to college, and thought I was super book cute, and tried teas, but the old school coffee drinker in me just couldn’t hang. But fine, I’m older. So I got some Tazo Chai Latte concentrate, and my latte and espresso brilliant milk frothing husband made me a latte.
    PicsArt_1411348192665I’m changed.
    This is now my every night thing and yeah, I’ll probably stomp this right into the ground and be over them soon, but maybe not. I sure as hell am still drinking café con leches and it has been…a number of years since the eighties.
    I’m also spraying that air freshener all day, every day.
  3. TARDIS blanket. Does this really need an explanation? I got a TARDIS blanket from ThinkGeek for Christmas last year and I’m basically Linus and wherever you may find me, you’ll find this blanket. Because honestly, what is a blanket fort without an amazing, nerdy blanket?
    blanketfort

So, what’s in your blanket fort? Hopefully snacks. There should always be snacks.

Front Porch Stories.

coffeemonday

  1. Craig and I are thrift store romantics who have always loved the hunt. Finding great secondhand stuff is the best, because half the fun of life is trying to figure out how something works without the instructions. The nostalgia that comes with finding something old and maybe familiar and then refashioning it into your now is pretty close to time travel. Our very first apartment way back when was outfitted with all thrift store stuff and on purpose, because we digged the motif even then. Our friends all came to our tiny place and lovingly told us it was not only because of our awesome company, but in this brand new world of being pretend adults it was nice to have a home base that reminded you of your grandma’s.
    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
    And we’re still those kids drawn to big comfy chairs covered in blankets and rustic wood furniture with scars and stories you can see, but now we’re actual grown ups who own a home and step on Legos instead of beer caps and that old school, thrifting sensibility has inspired us to learn to actually do things. Craig, the woodworker/carpenter to my sander and painter, has been building me bookcases and tables for awhile, but our new favorite is the adirondack chair.
    2014-09-14 09.43.36
    Soon there will be a table, but having heavy, handmade wooden chairs made by the both of us would definitely be something the two kids in that cluttered, warm apartment would have thought awesome.
  2. This weekend’s Gator game almost killed me dead. Turned the TV to mute, jumping jacks between plays, muttering curses dead. I can barely even talk about it still, but my Saturdays are a whirlwind of emotion with all the TV happening that day, and let me tell you, this is emotional TV for me. I’ve got not only the Gator game, but DOCTOR WHO. And anyone who knows me, knows how big a deal that is for me. Anyone who walks into my house, hears my phone ring, or counts to any number between 1 and 12 in my presence, knows what it means. And THEN there’s Outlander on Starz. I’m not an old school fan, but did read the book earlier this year, and I’m definitely in. Have you seen Jaime? That highlander can get it. And this upcoming week THE MINDY PROJECT comes back and then there’s SLEEPY HOLLOW and I’ve got a lot to fangirl over, and will probably, most definitely, be bringing that to the blog.
    sharethisshow
  3. Today the second book in The Lane series by Kristine Wyllys releases! LOSING STREAK is out and is a companion book to WILD ONES, which can totally be read alone, but like any series it’s the best to get the amazing, gritty, and unforgettable first story carved on your heart first, for not only Bri and Luke’s story, but to see the whisper of what is going to absolutely combust in Rosie and Brandon’s. Just like the first in the New Adult series it’s hot, tense and bursting with the kind of prose you’ll want to highlight all over and starring strong anti-heroines who are totally running the show. LOSING STREAK is an intense, seductive story about loyalty, sacrifice and the kind of love born from impossible choices. Go and get it and prepare to lose a couple of hours while you follow Rosie back into the Lane.
    runningrosetyler

Battle For The Net.

If you woke up tomorrow, and your internet looked like this, what would you do?

anigif

Imagine all your favorite websites taking forever to load, while you get annoying notifications from your ISP suggesting you switch to one of their approved “Fast Lane” sites.

Think about what we would lose: all the weird, alternative, interesting, and enlightening stuff that makes the Internet so much cooler than mainstream Cable TV. What if the only news sites you could reliably connect to were the ones that had deals with companies like Comcast and Verizon?

Today, just a few days before the FCC’s comment deadline, public interest organizations are issuing an open, international call for websites and internet users to unite for an “Internet Slowdown” to show the world what the web would be like if Team Cable gets their way and trashes net neutrality. Net neutrality is hard to explain, so our hope is that this action will help SHOW the world what’s really at stake if we lose the open Internet.

Everyone else, here’s a quick list of things you can do to help spread the word about the slowdown: http://tumblr.fightforthefuture.org/post/96020972118/be-a-part-of-the-great-internet-slowdown

Keep the internet weird, guys. This is your public space. Get loud with it.

dropthemic

via Battle For The Net.

Not Quite A Belle: Watermelon Juice.

Sometimes I like to imagine that I’m super good at things. Magazine things. Scrapbooking things. Maybe sewing things. I roam the aisles of the craft store and want to bury my hands in the stickers and buttons and always have this moments of, “I could do this. I could make things.”

Lightning strikes and then I go home and try to make some DIY modpodge, which is basically just glue and water, while scowling at my phone, wondering why it’s not coming out like this post I just found on Pinterest.

I like baskets and all those pretty wreathes and think about canning and I’m usually failing, but always trying. Leafing through those damned Southern Living magazines growing up really did a number on me.

I did the thing again, but this time with watermelon. We bought a huge one and I was eyeing all the juice thinking, “Look at it. There’s got to be something you can do with that. Maybe watermelon jelly? That’s a thing, right?”

I mean, I don’t know.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

A whole lotta watermelon.

I looked at the gutted watermelon and around my kitchen and figured I had stuff and could totally do the thing. So, I did what I always do at this point. I go on Pinterest.

Continue reading