Friday Things

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Another week, another summer, comes to a close. I feel like the older I get, the more time speeds up. I can’t believe it’s been fourteen years since I was a freshman in college, huddled around my roommate’s TV with a bunch of people I’d just met, watching those towers fall. Here’s to hoping that humanity is slowly but surely moving towards a place where we can stop thinking of any group of people as “the enemy” and just acknowledge one another for what we all are: beautifully flawed human beings.

On that note:

1. I basically assumed everyone was already following HONY, but then I met someone the other day who’d never heard of this wonderful site. If you haven’t already, go through and read these people’s stories; and better yet, read the comments on Facebook. It’s the only comment section on the internet that doesn’t make you want to throw away your computer and go live alone in the woods.

2. American behaviors that can be considered rude in other countries.

3.  Comics that describe what it’s like to live in New York. Though I’ve recently abandoned NYC for the larger spaces and cheaper rents of Jersey City, I will never forget the nearly 8 years I called this city home. And since I work here, it still kind of is.

Reading: SO CLOSE to finishing this, and it’s gotten supremely bizarre in its later chapters. At the same time, I also started reading this, and it’s fascinating so far.

Watching: The same thing as last week. Currently in the Pylea episodes, which I love 🙂

Listening tothis, of course.

Image taken by my iPhone 3 9/11/2011

Friday Things

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Happy Friday!

We’re heading to the beach this weekend and I cannot wait. Here are three things that interested me this week.

1. If you’re in the throes of querying, you may have encountered the issue of boiling your wonderful novel down into a synopsis. I attempted to do this once, then gave up entirely. Chances are I’ll have to do it at some point though, and to help, I’ll be using this amazing post on synopsis-writing, which I found through my favorite writing blog.

2. Warning: massive wanderlust alert: a self-driven tour through Tanzania.

3. My boyfriend and I are still struggling over where to live. We like our tiny, light-filled Brooklyn apartment, but it’s tiny with no outdoor space. We would love a house in the suburbs, but would not love the commute. This article gave me some things to think about.

Reading: I’m still reading the same thing I was reading last week because it’s 1000+ pages and I unfortunately don’t have unlimited amounts of free time. As expected, it’s terrifying and really good, but it’s actually so terrifying I can’t read it in bed at night. So at the same time, I’m also reading this. Patrick Ness’s other books were the best I’ve read this year so I have high expectations for this.

Watching: I watched this movie while cooking this week, and I really loved it. Highly recommended for anyone, but especially YA lit fans. I think writers can learn a lot from well-written movies.

Listening to: I’m on a Bruce kick. It’s summer, and I’m a Jersey girl at heart. (My favorite song of all time.)

Image found here

On Getting Out of a Bad Mood

tumblr_ngmtvpBUHz1t1cy7no1_1280New Year’s Day, 2011: I am tired, obviously hungover, stumbling home in last night’s clothes, feeling like the unhappiest person in the entire world.

It was my last New Year’s as a single girl, but I didn’t know that yet. I was fixated on my bad night–being hit on by guy after guy, only for them to reveal they had a girlfriend, but could “promise me a good time” if I’d just give them a chance–and seeing it as a harbinger of the rest of my life. And instead of placing the blame where it should have been placed–on the guys–I was trying to figure out what was wrong with me. 

As I stumbled down into the L train stop, my eyes on my sore feet in my too-high heels, I passed a homeless person with a cup in front of him sitting on the ground. Not an uncommon sight; it is NYC, after all. If I have a dollar or some change somewhere easily accessible to me, I tend to give. If I don’t, I keep walking.

I glanced into my bag, saw all I had was a twenty-dollar bill, and kept walking.

But then I stopped.

The guy–boy, really, he couldn’t have been older than twenty–looked the way I felt. He was slumped over his cup–which only held coins–not sleeping, not looking up at people begging, just staring at the ground. Like there was nothing left in the world worth seeing. His clothes and hair were dirty, he had tattoos across his face–far be it from me to judge what anyone else puts on their body, but he was so young I worried he hadn’t really thought the whole face-tattoo thing through.

What happened to him to bring him here?

I thought about it for probably about thirty seconds. Then I pulled out my twenty and dropped it into his cup.

He looked at it. Then looked up at me. In disbelief.

“Thank you,” he said. His eyes filled with tears, then overflowed, dripping down over his face tattoo. “Thank you,” he said again. “Thank you so much.”

“You’re welcome,” I said.

The train arrived. I got on it and never saw him again. I don’t know if my twenty dollars did him any good.

But something weird happened. I walked home feeling like the biggest person in the world. My bad mood was completely, entirely gone.

So this is my secret for when you’re feeling down: help someone. A person on the street, a person on the internet, a homeless dog. Just someone. No matter how crappy you feel, I guarantee there’s someone out there who’s feeling worse. And if you’re sitting here reading blogs on your computer or phone, chances are you’re in a position to help them.

Lately, I’ve been feeling down (boring day job, but where else should I work? I don’t belong in NYC, but where else should I go? + I’m still not a published writer. Rinse and repeat…) So I decided to do something I’ve been thinking about for a long time: sponsor a child. I decided to go with Children International–it’s not religiously affiliated and it has a great reputation. I just signed up, so don’t have a ton of insight as to how it’s going to go, but even if I make just a tiny difference in the life of someone who really needs it, I will be satisfied.

So if you’re having a crappy day/week/month/year, give my method a try. I think it will help you. And more importantly, it will help someone else.

Image found here.

Friday Things

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After a good week last week, I’m back to feeling restless. It’s my job, it’s the city, it’s the winter that still hasn’t completely gone away, it’s my miniature apartment. I’m dreaming of wide open fields and blue skies and houses with actual kitchens. I go around in circles: leave the city–but it’s not necessarily cheaper, and I don’t want to commute–leave the east coast–but go where?–find a job somewhere–but there’s nothing I want to do but write books, and I could do that anywhere–I’m actually lucky, I work in a job that gives me the time to write on the side–so I should stay here…

You get the idea.

In every week, I have my ups as well as my downs. Here are some good things that made my week:

1. I discovered a new amazing bar in the no man’s land of midtown Manhattan: The Jeffrey. Sit on the espresso bar side, at the bar–there’s a bartender there who’s an absolute cocktail genius. I can’t tell you what I had, but it involved a flaming orange peel, and I highly recommend it. Also, they put truffle oil on practically everything.

2. I fortunately have not had to worry about dating in 4 years now, but for those of you who still do, this article is genius.

3. Oh, and I FINISHED THE FIRST DRAFT OF MY SECOND NOVEL. Now I’m going to do what I didn’t do with my first novel which is put it away and try and forget about it for several months. And when I take it back out to edit it, I’ll be printing it out onto physical paper.

Reading: The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed me tweeting about them constantly because THESE BOOKS ARE AMAZING. How had I never heard of them before? It’s a weird premise: There’s a town of only men, where everyone can hear one another’s thoughts, including the animals. There’s a boy name Todd, a dog named Manchee … and a beautiful, heartrending story. Just go read them. Now.

Watching: I’m a little late to the party, but I finally watched Frozen and now I can’t stop singing it.

Listening to: The Mumford and Sons Pandora station is absolutely lovely. I like Pandora better than Spotify because I actually like all the suggested music that comes with each station–it’s the only way I discover new music I like now.

Have a great weekend!

Lovely image found here