What’s Up, Wednesday? //5\\

Welcome back to WHAT’S UP WEDNESDAY, which is hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. To learn more about it, you should really visit their respective pages. I use it to keep me writing, to make myself think about writing, and to force myself to think positive and find things to look forward to.

What I’m Reading

This weekend I resisted the urge to read fanfiction and knocked out the first 500 pages of Goblet of Fire and started my re-read of Unspoken in preparation for Unmade. This weekend I will be re-reading Raven Boys & Dream Thieves so I can finally sink my teeth into Blue Lily, Lily Blue.

SPEAKING OF, I saw BLLB at an indie in Louisville on Saturday and panicked. So hard. Like, waves of anxiety crashed down upon my mortal frame, and I was a’feared that I would drown. It wasn’t to be released for 3 days. (Happy Book Birthday, BLLB!) I already had an autographed, doodled-in copy on pre-order. Whatever was I to do? One friend suggested buying it and auctioning it, but I decided that was immoral. So instead – maybe proving once and for all that I am not a Gryffindor because I cannot talk to people about how they accidentally put a book on a shelf that shouldn’t have been shelved yet – I chose to simply be happy for whomever is lucky enough to stumble across it.

What I’m Writing

I have now worked on That Golf Story in 4 states, The District, and somewhere in the sky, possibly over Pennsylvania. I have successfully waved goodbye to the 1/3rd mark on this draft!

Even though I’ve been teasing Kate with it for weeks now, I have yet to make the protagonists make out. I have been diligently working towards setting that up, raising the general sexual tension, and introducing conflicts, so there’s that. The prospect of writing such a fun scene is really keeping me motivated, so there’s that.

What Works for Me

I’m constantly trying to find good sources of motivation. Sometimes that’s to stop writing right before a really fun scene so I have something to entice me to sit down and write again soon. Sometimes it’s making a tumblr and fan-casting my characters. At the moment, it is the prospect of Publication Tattoos.

Back in (oh god) December of 2012, I promised myself that if I got my WIP-at-the-time published, I would get a tattoo commemorating it. I didn’t finish the draft until July of this year, but I have a sketch of the tattoo both floating around my head and on a scrap of paper in my apartment. Of all the tattoos I want, it’s the most thought-out. I know what it will be, and where it will be, and I am so, so excited for it. But I won’t get it until that story is published.

So now I’m working on a different WIP, and I’m dreaming up a new tattoo idea. I’m tempting myself. One day this book will be born and it will exist, not just in my mind, but in the world and on my skin. That’s pretty motivational.

Now I just have to think of a good way to make a golf story into a tattoo.

What Else I’ve Been Up To

Oh my goodness, I’m surprised I wrote at all last weekend because I was too busy having the perfect day. My friend/roommate Amanda and I went to visit our friend/old roommate Anne who now lives in Louisville. From my inaugural trip to Waffle House, to seeing Blue Lily, Lily Blue in the wild, to knowing that Alabama shut-out Texas A&M to eating Blue Bell with my friends, to having the most amazing coffee ever, and seeing the Avett Brothers live, nothing could compare to being reunited with Anne.

I honestly can’t remember having a better weekend or being happier than the 60 hours I spent in Louisville, and I’m so, so glad I made that trip (and Anne) a priority.

Epistolary, Minus the Novel

I cannot, in good conscious, call myself a ditz. I can, however, use many synonyms thereof: scatterbrained, silly, foolish, brainless, capricious, etc. Because I did a thing. Not quite bad enough to be called stupid or negligent, but kind of dumb. Let’s take it back to the beginning.

Maybe it started when I learned to communicate with the world. But that couldn’t be it because I was a painfully shy little girl. (Don’t worry, that didn’t last long. Though my disdain for strangers hasn’t at all diminished.) Or perhaps it was when I learned to read and write in 1995? No, it must have been much later. Surely, it was 2001 when my mother got a job at the local library. Maybe it was an on-going thing, my grandmother faithfully writing me letters throughout my childhood, fostering my love of correspondence. Which explains why, after I stopped writing to my friend sophomore year of college, I have ever since have wanted a new pen pal. Whatever it was, the result is this:

Kristen moved to Portland. One of my best friends moved 3000 miles away and while that was painful, I was happy for her. It was exciting! And I saw an opportunity. I finally had someone I could write letters to again! So a couple weeks ago, I started doing just that. I pestered her and pestered her until she gave me her new address and I started writing letters.

Let me just say, I’m not the best letter-writer. There are a combination of factors: I kind of insist on writing in cursive, I’m not very punctual, and, well, to be honest, there’s not much going on in my life worth writing about. But letters have a kind of magic to them – there’s a reason #4, Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrrey was filled with scores upon scores of letters instead of the Dursley’s house phone ringing off the hook. There’s something inherently personal about letter writing. They prove that more thought and care has been taken than any other form of communication I can think of. (Except perhaps semaphore. That takes some serious commitment.) Letters are tangible; they have a life to them. They are keepsakes and memories. And it’s a lot more fun to mail your friend weird cut-out news articles than it is to forward it to them via a bit.ly on twitter. Trust me.

[I once mailed my friend Anne a care package that included, among other things, a news clipping about a bear that, after sniffing peanut butter on the steering wheel of a car, got trapped in the drivers seat and rode the car into a ravine. A shallow ravine. More of a ditch, really. Or maybe it drove into a tree? Either way: the bear got into a car accident whilst in the car.]

So, when I have time to kill or when I have something to say, I sit down and write Kristen a letter. I did so a fortnight ago while waiting for a friend so that we could get dinner after work. I sat myself down in a Starbucks, pulled out a pilfered legal pad, and wrote. And when it was time to meet my friend, I absentmindedly tucked the letter into my purse and carried on with my night.

Which would have been fine. It would have been fine except for the fact that I tucked the letter beneath the cover of the book in my purse. The book that was already woefully overdue from the library.

See, here’s the thing. My mother works at the local library back home. Which is great for any number of reasons. For me, it means my library requests are delivered directly to me. It is a library where books can be renewed ad infinitum. And a library at which, for a beautiful decade, I never, ever had to worry about late fees. Which means that I absolutely got into the habit of not worrying about late fees.

So a fortnight ago I had Amanda drop me off at the library, for no other reason than we had possession of her mother’s car that day. I went inside with no other agenda than to return my woefully overdue books, pay my fine, and pick up whatever it was I had on the holdshelf. (A really good haul, actually: Season 1, volume 1 of Everwood; Mo’ Meta Blues by Questlove; The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater.) And then I scurried home to hang out with friends. I put it out of my mind, content to watch the perfect double-feature of Bring It On and Pitch Perfect before muting the Bama vs. LSU game and watching a whopping 2.5 hours of Brotherhood 2.0 on my laptop.

Out of sight, out of mind I guess. Which is why it took a day for me to realize that, d’oh!, I had absolutely slipped Kristen’s letter into one of the books that I had returned to the library. But our library is closed on Sundays, so it was a waiting game. But then it was closed on Monday as well, for Veteran’s Day. I would have been bothered, except for the fact that the library being closed meant there was no way the book I had left the letter in had been checked out or shipped off to another patron or branch.

So, Tuesday after work I marched myself to the library and made a beeline to the stacks, intent on emerging victorious, Kristen’s letter safe in my clutches. But when I got to the shelf, the copy of the book (The Age of Miracles, which I didn’t get more than 20 pages into) I picked up didn’t have my letter. It did, however, have a reminder for some woman’s (I’m assuming it was a woman’s) OB/GYN appointment. I slipped it back on the shelf and went up to the circulation desk.

The guy working was the most helpful. Every other time I’ve been into the library I’ve had an elderly woman helping me, but this time it was a middle-aged dude. I explained my predicament, and told him how the book was from this branch but not currently on the shelf and he dug around in the back and FOUND IT. He returned with the letter. I thanked him profusely and may have done a happy dance. I left with a smile and a few more DVDs.

So today, at long last, Kristen’s letter was mailed. It’s already been through quite the adventure. I hope it has a good transcontinental journey as well.

Pretty Perfect Weekend

If you know anything about me, you will recognize that this weekend was maybe the most quintessential Molly weekend I could have had. Despite my plans for a Harry Potter movie marathon in a blanket fort with pizza aplenty falling through, I still had a pretty excellent weekend. Here’s what went down:

Friday: Y’all know my feelings about my job, so I was pretty excited to get home on Friday and just veg, especially after the mini freak-out on the Metro platform about leaving my Kindle at the office. So when I got home Amanda and I caught up on The Mindy Project before Megan came over and we watched Perks of Being a Wallflower. Full disclosure – I never finished the book. I had been reading it over a break from school, but I had to go back and the library loan was up, and I just never got around to finishing. And you know what? I’m not that broken-hearted over it because while I found the main character in the book to be almost unbearably naive, I thought the movie was really well done. The acting was fantastic, especially Ezra Miller, but Logan Lerman, as well. Not finishing the book meant that I was genuinely surprised about the plot-twist and ending of the movie, which I hadn’t predicted at all. I enjoyed it. After the movie I retreated to my room and hammered out a few more pages on my most recent WIP. Oh, and of note I recently passed the 50,000 word mark for the first time in any WIP. I’m pretty excited about it.

Saturday: I’ve lived in my new place for four months, so I figured it was about time to visit the library. It’s only a ten minute walk, door to door! The path includes cutting through a park! It was all very exciting. The local branch of the library looks kind of sad, both inside and out. Just, severely outdated, a weird floorplan, and a lot of different shades of beige. I did really enjoy the Nerdfighter poster in the YA section (but not so much the admin sign that read “this area is reserved for teens (and their guardians)”. Were they trying to intimate that I’m too old to be reading YA? Because you’re never too old to be reading YA). I ended up getting a lot of titles I hadn’t been able to download from the library’s e-catalog for my Kindle. I ended up walking home with 5 books (4 YA and one adult, just in case the circulation assistant made a fuss). When I got back to the apartment Amanda and Megan had already started the re-re-re-watch of Star Trek: Into Darkness. When that ended, I made a batch of cookies and settled in to watch the Bama / Texas A&M game (Roll Tide!). After that I ended up going on an impromptu, and pretty short, midnight monument tour. By pretty short I mean we basically went to the Lincoln and lounged in the back, where we spent an hour laying down, trying to figure out which of the 5 visible lights in the sky were stars, and which were airplanes. Round-trip was less than two hours.

Sunday: A lazy day. I slept in, made a giant egg sandwich for lunch, continued my Greek marathon before switching over to re-watch season one of The Vampire Diaries. I’ve seen most of Greek already, and all of TVD, so I kept busy by starting a new book (The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater). Reading was interrupted when a friend that happens to live in my apartment building called me from her sister’s phone and asked me to drive her into the city so that she could pick up her phone which she had left at a bar. Upon my return, I climbed back into my hammock and watched the Season 2 finale of The Newsroom, which resulted in a lot of Tina Belcher noises (see below). Then read until I fell asleep.

That was my weekend: baking, books, football, movies, television marathons, and weird road-trip-y favors for friends. It was a nice, low-key weekend before the craziness of this weekend which will feature out of town guests and FreeFest.

Now enjoy a song that was stuck in my head all weekend:

In Which I Apologize Profusely for having been Absent from the Blogosphere

Seeing as how I have once again been MIA from my blog for awhile, I thought I’d ease us all back into things. Slow and steady, no? So we’re just going to play catch-up. Last I posted, I wrote about my time in Dublin. Wow, that seems like forever ago. So much has happened over the last two and a half months (has it really been that long since I’ve posted? I’m the worst), so here’s the quick and dirty:

December:

  • I returned to the States! I finished my time abroad and flew into DC to hang out with my friends at GW during their reading week. This was really important to me since a lot of my friends are now abroad. Visiting in December was my only real opportunity to see them before our Senior Year started. Waiting that long to see all of my wonderful friends just wasn’t going to cut it so I did what made sense – I came to DC for a visit. We watched the requisite winter movie Love, Actually. We watched political debates. We ate peppermint bark. We went out to dinner. We reconnected.
  • I visited family. No matter what, winter break is a time for me to visit family. I managed to squeeze trips to both Michigan and New York out of my four week break. I hung out with my cousins, ate amazing Polish food, hit the outlet malls, cleaned out my grandparent’s kitchen, drove through Allegheny National Forest. It was a grand ole time.

January:

  • I watched my beloved Alabama Crimson Tide trounce LSU. I made caramel corn during half time and wore my Roll Tide t-shirt.
  • I moved back to DC and into my new dorm. I’ve been really busy with school and work, and spending time with my friends (none of whom live in the same building as myself) but I like my room well enough. It’s tiny and doesn’t have enough storage space, but it’ll do for a home away from home until May.
  • I celebrated a birthday! It was really low-key, but I was with my friends, and that’s all that matters. We ate chocolate-covered cheesecake. Need I say more?
  • Band started up again! I basically spend all of my time with them, bouncing between Symphonic Band and pep band rehearsals and basketball games, but it’s always fun. We have traditions and inside jokes and a lot of love for each other. It’s wonderful.

February:

  • Celebrated the first annual Alan Rickmas. What is that, you may ask? The Sunday before Alan Rickman’s birthday you get together with a bunch of your friends and day-drink while watching Alan Rickman movies. This year we watched Nobel Son, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Galaxy Quest, Love Actually, and Die Hard. It’s a grand day that we hope to replicate for years to come.

Can’t you see I’ve been super busy? I hope y’all understand why I haven’t been posting. I’m also taking a creative writing class this semester which is taking a lot of writing focus. So is my recapping duty over at Off Color TV for Parks and Recreations. You can find my posts here.

In my free time (when not hanging out with friends, obviously) I’ve been trying to catch up on all of my TV watching. I’m floundering to keep up with my regular shows week-to-week, but I’ve managed to watch all of Party Down (loved it so much; can’t wait for the movie), and have worked my way into season 4 of Supernatural (enjoying it a lot).

Trying to spend more time reading because I feel like I’ve been neglecting my books. I’m halfway through the third Hitchhiker’s Guide book. I finished Downtown Owl, finally. I just purchased Bossypants and The Hunger Games to reread over spring break and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? because I love and admire Mindy Kaling.

Nothing too exciting is in my near future. I’ve been applying to summer jobs/internships so that I can (hopefully) stay in DC over the summer. I’m impatiently awaiting March 23rd because I just want to see the Hunger Games already and… Guys. I have a lot of feelings about this book. Expect a post about it in the near future. Suffice it to say for the time being that I’m in need of a good cry and the dam’s going to break when I see that movie. I’ve already warned the friends I’m going to see it with (midnight premiere, what-what?). I plan on packing lots and lots of tissues.

Have a listen to one of my favorite songs from Brighton, which I’ve been told is finally starting to be popular Stateside. Just remember, I heard/liked it first.

Cozy, Comfortable, Crisp. My thoughts on November.

It’s mid-November and I’m content. I love being surrounded by the crisp leaves, the afternoon thunderstorms, the cutting wind and the aura of change. It’s a time to be cozy. A time to sit in front of a fireplace; to wear absurd amounts of flannel; to curl up with a lover; to watch football with your friends; for the men to participate in “no shave November.”

The leaves have all fallen. They’re a dark ruddy brown, dead, piled at the bases of the trees they used to adorn. I miss them. I miss the brief period where the leaves change and just start to fall and everyone just seems more aware of nature. Strangely enough, the is the first time in three years I’ve actually had a chance to view autumn in all her glory. As much as I love my adopted home in DC, you sure don’t have the opportunity to see the leaves change. But, in order to enjoy the changing of the leaves (leaf-peeping, it’s a thing!), I have to give up the simple things I enjoy stateside, like my football.

I miss football so much it hurts. While GW doesn’t have a team, I have never wavered in my support of the Alabama Crimson Tide. Unfortunately, there are “geographic restrictions” and a 6-hour time difference keep me from watching my team. It’s fine, I guess. It’s one of the really things that makes me realize, hey, I’m in a foreign country!

I’m also going to miss Thanksgiving this year. It’s not that I don’t love the holiday itself or the three days off from school, but huge Thanksgiving celebrations were never really our thing. I will miss the stuffing. And the potential for turning the leftovers into open-faced turkey sandwiches with gravy fries. Mmm, gravy fries.

But I’ve got to suck it up. To make up for missing Thanksgiving I’m gifting myself a trip to Belgium. It might just be a day trip to Bruges, it might be an entire weekend so that I can see Brussels (and find the elusive Pol’s, a place I’ll have to locate on hearsay from my late grandfather). Originally when I came to the UK I wanted to visit Dublin, Scotland, London, Oxford, Amsterdam, Belgium and Paris. Unfortunately with my class schedule, trips like those became improbable. I’ve ticked Scotland and London off of my list but that leaves a lot of open ends, of unmet goals. So, before I go home, in just one short month I hope that I can at the very least see parts of Belgium and Paris. Not too lofty of goals. Simple, practical, delightful.

There will be challenges. I have papers to write, presentations to make, exams to study for. I have to keep myself from freaking out that I only have a month left to enjoy before I return to the states. I have to keep myself from freaking out that I have to wait a month before I’m back in the states. I’m not necessarily homesick, but I suppose if you said that you wouldn’t be too far from the mark. And then there’s my personal challenge: since I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo, I’ve challenged myself to finish, or at least get 50,000 words written, on one of my three current writing projects. Wish me luck!

The League: In Which there were fewer NFL references than Hart of Dixie

Episode 3×2:  This week on The League we learn that everyone’s draft experience sucked. Ultimately, Pete works out a multi-man trade, encouraging trust between league members. He beautifully engineers an 8-man trade on a white board which Andre notes is ”like a useless Good Will Hunting.” Everyone agrees to the Sukkoth Pact 2011, the deadline for the trade being the start of the Sukkoth ceremony. The trade goes through for everyone except Pete whom Andre screwed over in a fit of jealousy.

The main story focuses on Ruxin and his quest to get his son, Geoffrey, into a Jewish pre-school. To woo the school board, he holds a Sukkoth celebration (aka Jewish Bonnarroo) at Kevin and Jenny’s house.  Because it’s 2006, Ruxin sends out e-vites to all of the potential Sukkoth guests. He immediately retracts them because the attached Google-Maps picture of his house features himself spray-painting a swastika on the pothole in front of his driveway. It’s not (just) that he’s a self-hating Jew, but in their neighborhood of Chicago, racist graffiti gets taken care of lickity-split; he hoped the workers would notice the pothole and fix it as well.

At the event-proper, the final version of the porno is unveiled. The video plays on a big-screen TV affixed to the garage. Drawn to the commotion, everyone leaves the Sukkah that Taco, Ellie, and Ruxin built as part of a Hebrew Habitat for Humanity and see the film. Andre is, in turn, nauseated and pissed. The school administrator is disgusted bans Geoffrey from the school in after calling the event a “suburban Kristellnacht.”

Andre is understandably pissed about the porno. He had no clue that his apartment had been so terribly desecrated. It does explain how he managed to contract thrush. He couldn’t figure it out since he hasn’t been sexually active in quite some time. Because she is my favorite, Jenny makes a joke, calling Andre’s misfortune the “Immaculate Infection.”

In the episode’s C plot, Jenny returns to work as a realtor. She excitedly shows Kevin her new bench ad which reads “The best realtor in town. Period.” She becomes less than thrilled as a homeless man takes up residence on her bench. Though she looks stunning in the ad, she’s clearly been photshopped, which Taco points out. Jenny forces Kevin to attempt to evict the homeless man from the bench because she feels that the guy is detracting potential clients. In a misguided attempt to convince the homeless man to abandon Jenny’s bench, explaining that he’s simply trying to please his wife, which is especially difficult at the moment because she’s on her period. Of course the homeless guy defaces her bench, using this information and the unfortunate wording of her ad. In the end, Kevin’s solution to getting the bench restored to its former glory is to graffiti it with a swastika, knowing that the government will have to clean it.

Much to my chagrin, Ruxin’s Shiva Ring makes a reappearance when Andre finds it in his couch. Ruxin actually vomits when it touches him, which makes me happy in a sadistic way.

Overall, not much football talk this week. Honestly, I watched a CW show (Hart of Dixie) with more discussion of football than this week’s episode of The League (about ‘Bama and Mark Ingram, no less). That there is just wrong. Regardless, Roll Tide!

Thoughts, comments, reactions? Hit the comments and let me know. I’ll be right back with this week’s actual recap for “The Au Pair.”

Generation X, Y, Z… HP?

I’m 19 years old and I never received my letter from Hogwarts. I’ve been waiting for 8 years. I’m starting to worry that I might actually be a muggle. I’d settle for squib at this point.

Being born in 1991, I am technically on the cusp of belong to both Generations Y and Z. In reality, however, I belong to the Harry Potter Generation.

Sure, I’m fluent in text-speak, can’t remember a time without cell phones or laptops, jump to the internet for the most basic queries, can barely remember using a modem for the internet… hell, I can barely remember not having the internet. Regardless, I’m not truly a member of Generation Y (1982-1994) or Generation Z (1991-2009).

~            ~            ~            ~           ~            ~          ~

I was 7 years old when the first Harry Potter book was released in the US. I picked up my first copy when I was 9. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the first book I can remember buying new from a bookstore – it was a present from my mom to read in the car while moving from Alabama to Ohio. This is a boy – a complete set of extended family, friends, enemies, mentors and teachers – that I’ve grown up with. While Harry Potter does get credit for re-engaging an apathetic generation in reading, that’s not why it’s famous to the kids who read it.

I started reading Harry Potter when I was 9 and he was 12. He was only ever a couple years older than me, in print. In the movies, we were even closer in age. I’ve literally grown up with him; I’ve snuck down the 3rd floor corridor on the right hand side, traipsed through the Forbidden Forest, punched Draco Malfoy in the face, cowered from the Death Eaters, cheered from the stands of the Quidditch World Cup, sobbed when Sirius, Dumbledore, Hedwig, George’s ear, Fred, Lupin, Tonks, and even Snape died – any emotional high or low that Harry’s been through, I felt it too.

I’ll forever resent my generation for regressing in terms of vocabulary, but I’ll champion the word “muggle” being added to the international lexicon. I won’t forget standing in a parking lot at 2 am with my friends, pretending that Roman Candles were actually wands, and that the sparks shooting out were actually related to the spells we shouted. I’ll still try to “accio” a book from across the room, “muffliato” when I’m trying to tell a secret, “sectumsempra” my brother when he gets on my nerves or “levicorpus” my roommate on April Fool’s Day.

The thing about Harry that bothers me the most, though, is that his age is a lie. Not in the sense that he’s timeless – though he is – but in the fact that this past July 31, Harry actually turned 30! In reality, he’s 11 years my senior. It feels like, just a little bit, Harry betrayed me. It’s like that episode of Friends: The One with the Ick Factor in which Monica, at 26, starts dating a guy she thinks is 22. She, lies, telling him that she’s also 22, before finding out that he’s actually only 18 – resulting in an eight year age gap.

I’m just saying, Harry, you took advantage of me a little bit. You cheapened our relationship. Regardless, you could pull a Malfoy – stomp on my face, cover me in an invisibility cloak, and leave me on a train for God knows how long – and I’d still find it in myself to forgive you. Because, Harry, you’ll always be my Chosen One.