Made in L.A. – Chasing the Elusive Dream

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Cover design by Allison Rose

I’ve been sitting on this one for a while now but it’s time to share. I have a short story coming out in the soon to be released anthology, ‘Made in L.A.: Chasing the Elusive Dream.’

It’s a collection of stories written by thirteen local Los Angelenos and I’m honored to be sharing the pages of this anthology with them and will post more about them, the anthology, the L.A. Times Festival of Books (where the book will be launching from), and how you can buy a copy soon!

For more in depth information right this second go here and check out the Made in L.A. official website.

xxoo – A

Life in General

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painting by Alyssa Monks

Inspiration. When I first started writing I looked for it everywhere. Sometimes, I still set out on a quest, searching. The problem is I never know what I’m searching for. Not until I find it.

The older I get, the less I rely on inspiration. I put all my energy on hard work.

Maybe when you’re younger you can’t hear how it’s really hard work that makes the difference. Maybe you’re not ready to hear it. Or maybe you already feel you’re doing all the hard work–with little to no reward.

Maybe I’m talking about myself.

That’s more than likely.

Yet here I am.

The interweaving roads I walk in this life can feel too great to accomplish at times, yet when I stare back, my footprints have been left on all of them.

Unrational fears are the first thing I create. I dismiss my factual proof and cling to reactions. Overreaction. Fear. All the different shades of the unwarranted emotion that clings to me like frizz to my hair on a humid day.

I’m knee deep in denial there is only one real path.

I’m really not in denial. I know there is only way path. It’s through. One foot in front of the other, never give up, ignore all the name calling and bullshit, on the path that leads to my goals.

Goals.

Do you have some? Any? None.

I have too many.

That’s a lie. I have one. People think I have many. People tell me what I should do with my life all the time. I listen. In one ear and out the other. I’m not lost. I’m quiet. I’m busy. Always plotting. Maybe it looks like I’m being lazy.

You can call me a lot of things. I’m not lazy.

Never been.

I should be lazier. It would be good for me. Not doing anything would be good for me. Not. Doing.

Stop.

In the darkness, there is a solace. In the silence, there are the loudest shouts ever heard. I hear it ALL DAY LONG. I hear it now. In the words, music, streets, in the people around me. They all say the same. They have a story.

I have a story.

We all are stories. One billion of them. No, more than a billion. A trillion. A quadrillion. Stories everywhere. Whispers on silent lips.

It’s hard work to hear them. To shuffling through. To find the right ones. They must fit better than custom-made kid gloves. Perfection in every fold.

And it circles around. It always circles around.

Pay attention.

Quitting is failure. Hard work is the key. There is one path, it’s lined with words, stories–quintillion stories–waiting for you to gently brush your fingers over, breath in, hold.

This is my life, in general. This is me.

I’m not lost. I’m dancing. I’ve always known the way. Just wait, you’ll see.

 

 

 

[this post brought to you by the inspiration from Alt-J’s album, “This is all Yours.”]

 

The map of me

At seven, when I began writing, I wrote because it was fun. Bad poems about ax murders and dragons (don’t judge) and adventure tales that involved hot air balloons and evil people chasing me was the bread and butter of my portfolio.

None of it was “ready,” but like I said–it was a blast. (Even the time the principle called my mothers to rat on me about a mean spirited poem I wrote centering around a girl in my class. To clarify, she’s punched me–I only wrote about wanting to hit her. I’m the classy one.)

In my teens I wrote more poetry. Filled with teen-angst and “why is the world so cruel” themes. This was in my journal. Even the story about a frog that was the wrong color. Everyone made fun of her, until she finally left home. Then, she made a friend–an albino crocodile–and together they saved everyone in her pond. (No, the crock didn’t eat anyone. She was lonely too.)

In my twenties I started to take writing more serious. I wrote a futuristic fantasy novel that had elves and talking crows. Once finish, I promptly showed it to no one. That said, I did my research, all with the intent to publish–yet I never did.

My second attempt was a romance novel. For me romance has always been a palate cleanser. I read the genre when I need a break from the other genres I read. I actually love romance–for this reason. Sometimes a story only needs to be skin deep. Two people meet, they fall in love, life tears them apart–they find each other in the end. There is perfection in that formula.

This novel was rejected. I wasn’t as tenacious back than as I am now. After one rejection I quit–for a long, long time.

I still wrote. Poems. Songs. Long rants in my journal about how I felt, my love/hate relationship with the world. With life. A script about a girl in love with a guy in a band. Two scripts that were horror movies. (One I still love. The other, I love one scene from. Sadly it doesn’t translate to novel writing. It was a camera thing.) And another story (which I adore, but the premise wasn’t my idea, so I let it sit, dusty and untouched) was the story of a young boy–set in NYC in the late 70’s. Seriously, I sometimes think about this kid. If you know me, and have read some of my stuff–the kids name was Malcolm. I loved him so much, I moved him into a new world. I made him grow up. He became a wonderful man–I’m slightly in love with him.

Then I got pregnant. Lost my job. Went to yoga teacher training to help reinvent myself–and then it happened. At our graduation celebration, a yogi friend said, “What are you thinking about now, Aryn?” and before I could lock my brain down or keep my mouth shut, I said, “Writing. I wish I was writing.”

And so I did. I moved. Had a few poems published.

I wrote another book. Then I rewrote that book. And then I rewrote it five more times. Rejected. (a big whole bunch.) (YA Fantasy/Horror)

So I wrote another book. This one for someone. The first draft sits, because… I don’t know. I can’t seem to reconnect with the content. This, like the story with the boy, has some parts I adore–but there is a mind blockade. A wall of white noise. It wears me down. (Historic Fiction)

Wrote a novella. (Sci/fi YA)

Then the one I have out on query. Actually, this was written prior to the one for a friend. I sent it out–Rejected. So I reworked it. From first draft to fifth, I found a writing partner. She helped me fix it. Still rejected. (Speculative Science Fiction)

Rejected so many times I’ve learned to flinch when my email pings. I turn my ringer off now.

In October I finished the first draft of a new book. I have high hopes for this one. It’s early. I hoped to have the second draft down by now–but the hell death plague that devoured my house, and my health, made certain that wasn’t an option. (Urban Fantasy)

I haven’t been seven in a very long time, but I can tell you this with all honestly–writing is still fun. I no longer write about the mean girl, or how I wish something bad would happen to her. If there is one thing that writing has taught me is the importance of being selective–in what you write about, who you spend your time with, where you put your energy.

It shows.

I’m hoping this next book is my lucky charm. Or maybe there is an agent out there–right now–reading my query for my current piece on submission who wants more. I don’t know. All I’m sure of, flinching aside, all I’ve ever known is writing. It is my expression. My soul. It is all I want.

Words.

Wednesday Words–Angels & Demons

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angel-writing-prompt

I picked this prompt because I feel like it forces your hand. You these this sentence and automatically think, ‘fallen angel who runs amuck messing up, royally.’

But what if that’s not it at all. What if it’s a backhanded comment? Like:

“Did you hear about Kara?”

“I did. What a shame…”

“Yeah, I guess you never expect an angel to set the world on fire.”

–or–

Maybe it’s a ‘thing’ a character says.

“You really screwed up this time, Mary.”

“Maybe I have, but you know what they say–no one expects and angel to set the world on fire!”


Words. Words. Words. Love ’em or hate ’em–but they affect all of us. Even the none writing people in our lives (or in this world.)

I like the latter of the two. I like the ‘catch phrase,’ for lack of a better term.

“Life’s too short, man. And you know what they say…”

Happy writing! xxoo-A

What do you do for a living? (and other loaded questions)

I’ve been writing for a long time, but its only recently I’ve called myself a writer. When meeting new people, and they ask what I do, I tend to say, “I’m a stay-at-home mom.” This isn’t a lie. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for nearly five years now. (It will be five years next month. Let’s have a party. You can bring the chips.) As I was saying–I’m a stay-at-home mom, but I’m also a writer.

Why is it so hard for me to answer, “What do you do?” with, “Well, I’m a writer!”

It shouldn’t be hard, but it always is.

Somehow this last book I wrote–the one currently on submissions–helpped me bridge this gap in the personal assessment of myself. Now, I’m a, “stay-at-home mom, who writes when my child is in school.” So, I have yet to cross the entire bridge, but I’m a lot closer than before.

Now, instead of hearing about how much fun I must have ‘playing’ all the time, I get a new reply:

“Oh! That’s so interesting! What to do you write?”

“I wrote a novel. It’s science fiction.”

“Oh…” Quick subject change. (You know…because science fiction has a bad rap of being boring. It’s not. Read better books.)

But back to the issue at hand. The conundrum of “am I a writer” falls in the same vein as “if a tree falls in the forest and no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Yes, it makes a sound, and yes, I’m a writer. No, I’m not on the New York Times Bestseller list–but neither have been many other writers. Maybe I will be one day. I’m not sure of that, but I am sure I’ll be published.

No, I’m not being egotistical. It’s just what needs to be done. But until that day is cemented in stone, I here by announced that I’m a writer. So if you meet me at a party (or more likely on a play ground) to answer your, “What do you do?” question is, I write.

And soon I hope to be sharing some of that writing on here for your pleasure! Do you write? Do you post it online? Leave me a link in the comments section so I can check you out!

Happy writing!! xxoo-A