Until recently, I had almost completely forgotten that I even had a blog, let alone that it had been almost a year since I last wrote an entry.
I'm still a college student and an unpublished writer, have made marginal progress on Autumn Leaves, but am more determined than ever to finish this manuscript by the end of this coming summer. However, this does not mean I have stopped writing by any means.
I wrote a short story, (my first real one that wasn't a novel idea or an excerpt!) "Tammy and Sammy," that turned out quite well even if the title seems a bit lack-luster. Tammy is mourning the loss of her little sister, Sammy, who took her life six months previously. Transitioning between scenes of contemplation and reflections of their childhood through that faithful day, the story brings the reader to the present with a chilling discovery. Now, as much as I want to reveal this, I will not! It took a bit of tweaking to make the ending more clear once I realized people were missing the big finale, but the final product is something of which I am proud. The instructor who read this short story as well as an excerpt from Autumn Leaves has given me some of my best feedback to date. In response to the novel excerpt, he said I had a very refined voice, of which is very difficult to come by in beginning writers. My exploration of the mother-daughter dynamic was met with much praise in my workshop, as well as my use of pop culture and dry humor.
Around December, I started worrying about my fiction piece for the application to Iowa's Undergraduate Creative Writing Track. From my freshman year, it has been my goal. Do I trim down something I've already written or start from scratch? The page limit was five, so the first was out of the question, but I had few short story ideas brewing up in my imagination. Then it hit me, like a ton of bricks, as most of my stories do: "Thin Red Lines." This is the story of a girl looking back at the abuse, physical and emotional, she suffered at the hands of Rebecca as a child. Her scars from her youth are her reminder of her strength and courage, but after all these years, is she happy? The reader is left to decide. The main character remains nameless and the voice is in second person, something of which I have been warned many a time is impossible to do. For a full length novel? Probably. Five pages? Possible, and I'm hoping it'll set me apart from the rest of applicants. The subject material for "Thin Red Lines" is based on my own childhood, though my story is far less severe than that of our unnamed character. It was the first time in a long while that I've put those emotions onto paper and reminded me how much else is still locked up inside me.
Anyways, life update: I'm studying abroad this semester in Cork, Ireland, and actually only have a week left of classes. The month of April will be spent gallivanting across Eastern Europe and May will be spent studying for exams. This last fall I joined a sorority, and am missing my sisters very much. I miss Iowa/Wisconsin terribly, but my time in Ireland has given me what I needed it to: inspiration. Sure, I was hoping that would manifest into major writing breakthroughs and progress on my novel, but at least I now know, in-depth, how Autumn's story will end.
Ireland has taught me much about myself. I learned that I can live on my own. I learned that life is really fucking expensive. I learned great friends can be found across the globe. But most of all, I am reminded time and time again of my love of writing. My "future" is coming closer my the day and yet I am not wavering in my life's goals. Ireland's vast natural beauty has given me more than enough to work with for The Mystieks and possibly Kay Kiyou. I cannot believe I'm leaving this beautiful country in almost two months, but my time here has been worth it all.
And as most of my posts, I'm ending nowhere near where I started, on a completely different tangent, but hopefully this post will be a reminder to keep writing my complete bullshit.