Mini Memoir Monday

Mini Memoir Monday: Three Rivers Make a Why

This week’s mini memoir was written by my friend, Matthais Sundberg. Enjoy!

matthaisI had been fired from a job I loved.

I got to watch cartoons for a living, worked with a man who built Wolverine claws and tommy guns and actually shot me in the head once. We made videos for the Internet and my company recently decided that my department was redundant and could be liquidated. So long, cartoons. So long, special effects guys. So long, free Coke in the fridge every day.

During my time at the company, I had been working for a man whom I look to as a mentor. He taught me the valuable lesson of ‘Why.’ He asked why, for every piece I was editing and assembling, I was putting our red robot on a blue background. I said, “I don’t know. I just did.”

He said, “Find out why and tell me. Don’t change it yet, but until you can give me a reason, maybe we should think of a new background for him.” From that moment on, I never did anything without having a defendable reason for doing it.

I learned later that the company I used to work for was to be sold to Google’s YouTube. I could have been a Googler, but I was redundant.

I worked for a while performing odd jobs. I work in the entertainment industry, so that means, mostly, being a production assistant on movies and television. It paid piss-poor, but it was something to pay the bills.

I ended up getting a job as a freelance editor for one of the first-ever video podcasts.  It was a job that made my editing better, because it taught me to look for the important things before making a project. Details are important.

I learned these lessons because the person I was working for did not know why he was doing things or what his details meant. He always gave the impression that he knew, but there was never a clear reason behind anything. Subsequently, it was not a successful company.

I worked at that job for a couple years, slowly becoming more integral and more important and less likely to be “redundant.” I found the more that I could inject myself into the anatomy of the company (and I use the term only in its most technical sense), he couldn’t fire me.

That also meant, I had nowhere else to go. I was stuck with this plan of action, even when he mysteriously ran out of money and couldn’t pay the five people that worked for him.

I slogged on. I worked on projects for the company that became increasingly fraught with politics. He was trying to create a deal with PBS, and even had a short-lived web-show with a very famous children’s TV creator. Meanwhile, I started to budget out and develop a refresh of the podcast brand. My version was more dynamic and fun and youth oriented, not talking-head-in-a-studio. Walter Cronkite was dead; his format should be, too.

One of the people that worked on the parenting show (with the very famous children’s TV creator or VFCTC) asked how I was doing. I said fine, that my wife and I were thinking about leaving New York City. It is a wonderful, terrible place, meant for the very young or the very rich; we were getting to be neither. I said that we were weighing escape options. Our list consisted of Portland, ME; Pittsburgh, PA; San Francisco, CA; Chicago, IL and a couple of other places that we had idly thought we might like to move to.

She perked up. “Pittsburgh?”

“Yeah, my wife’s family is from around there.”

“You want a job?”

“What?”

It turns out that the VFCTC had created another program and it needed an editor for some live-action segments in the middle. The only hitch was that the editor needed to be in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

My wife and I talked it over and I went to Pittsburgh to see if they might give me the job. The VFCTC was working in partnership with another company, so she wouldn’t be in Pittsburgh. I met with the partner company head, who informed me that he only wanted to look at my resume “because I’m curious.” He offered me the job right there. “Can you be here on December 5th?” It was the end of a snowy October. Without hesitating or consulting anyone, I said the only thing I could.

“Absolutely.”

A month later, my wife and I tearfully left our friends in New York, moved into a house we hadn’t seen, in a city we were unfamiliar with for a job I only knew about two months earlier. I quit from the podcast program in a grand way, still being owed roughly $1500, even telling the new host she should run away (which she did in the end; she runs a start-up with her husband now).

My mentor would have asked me why? Why do all of those things?

I’m an editor on the award-winning children’s program, “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” and we’re about to finish our debut season. My wife and I have a dog and a yard and a house. We have a garden.

Though we miss our friends terribly, we are happy.

 

Mini Memoir Monday: The First Journey

This week’s mini memoir was submitting by Greg. Check out his travel blog, Greg’s China, and read all about his day to day experiences in China.

***

Back when I was a young and impressionable seventeen year-old, I took a train from my home town in West Yorkshire to Oban. Oban is a small city on the west coast of Scotland, and the gateway to the Hebrides. This was the first real time I’d traveled alone. My destination was a tiny 9 x 3 mile island named the Isle of Coll. You may be wondering what business a lone teenager had in the Outer Hebrides; I was going there for a selection course in the hope I would be accepted as a volunteer for Project Trust, a charity that sends volunteers abroad to teach in developing countries (A gap yah, in other words!).

As the train pulled away from the station I remember clearly the feeling of nervous excitement that you only get from going on an adventure. My heart beat fast as the blurred scenery shot by. As darkness gave way to the warm orange of dawn, the familiar sight of rolling fields was replaced by the ghostly desolation of moor land. Opposite me a middle-aged man sat looking out on the same view.

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“Beautiful, isn’t it?” he said, looking over with a friendly smile.

“Sure is” I replied.

We introduced ourselves and I asked him why he was going up the west coast of Scotland. It turned out he was going to stay with family up in Fort William, a town of about ten thousand way out in the Highlands.

“What do you do?” I decided to ask him.

“I do what I like to do, I suppose.” He said.

Seeing that I was a little confused by his statement he clarified. “I keep a list on me wherever I go. And on that list, I have written down every dream or ambition that I want to achieve.”

He paused to take a sip of his coffee, “I don’t take to it aggressively, but my opinion is that by knowing what you want to do, and being willing to do it, things just fall into place.

“Each thing written on the list is like… a bubble rising from the ocean floor. Eventually it reaches the surface, as it has always been destined to, and just like that,” he clicked his fingers, ”your desire changes from ambition to reality. This is how I’ve lived my whole life, and it’s always worked for me!

“Got a pen?” he asked.

“Umm, yeah, I’ve got one right here.” I replied.

“Good. Take it out and write your own list, right now.”

“What am I supposed to write about?”

“Write down anything and everything you want to do in life. You’ll achieve what’s on your list if you really want to.”

I finished writing the list. It was full of angst and teenage pipe dreams, but at the time it was profound to me. I made to show it to him, but he just said “That’s your list, you don’t need to show it to anybody, you just need to know that it’s there, and that it’s achievable.”

As the train pulled into the station, we shook hands and said our goodbyes.

I never saw Kirk again.

Even though his life was lived out of a suitcase, and I’m sure this must have brought about a fair share of troubles, he emanated a sense of contentment and freedom that I remember being in awe of. I like to think that wherever he is now he’s still carrying that same list and waiting for the perfect moments to execute each of his plans.

What could have just been a standard train journey was instead turned into a lesson that has stayed with me for seven years, and will continue to stay with me for as long as I live.

The lesson I learned was that even if you need to make sacrifices or you need to wait, there will come a time when what you want is achievable.

Some plans on my list have long since been crossed out, and others are yet to be achieved. I’m not anxious though, with enough time and patience every bubble has the chance to make its way to the surface.

Mini Memoir Monday: Heading Home

This week’s mini memoir was written by David Pagan. You can check out his fantastic blog, According to Dave, and read about the ups and downs of being a writer. If you would like to submit a mini memoir, please follow this link. Without further ado:

David Pagan

It’s 7:08 on December 5th. I’m in seat 8F, next to Debbie. She is watching “A Knight’s Tale” on her iPad as I type on mine. It’s dark outside. I find myself reflecting on all that has happened.

Ten days ago, I sat alone on a flight from SFO to DFW, heading eventually to Fort Smith, Arkansas, where my father was being kept alive in the ICU. I fully expected him to be dead by the time I arrived, But God had other plans. He allowed me the chance to see my dad alive, albeit gravely ill. On Tuesday, I was able to talk with him and tell him I loved him. He was able to respond and mouthed that he loved me too. Did he really hear me? Did he really say I love you? I suppose I’ll never know for sure, but I choose to believe that he did.

His health steadily declined over the rest of the week, until finally, on Friday, November 30th, he was no longer taking nourishment through his tube, an indication that his body was beginning to shut down. It was then that we, as a family, made a tough decision. Based on his repeated insistence over the years that he did not want to be kept alive artificially, we all agreed that it was time to take him off the ventilator. We did so, and about an hour or so later, he passed away about as gently as is possible aside from being at home in bed asleep. His life was now defined:

2/25/1933 – 11/30/2012

What is written above is what now appears on the temporary grave marker at the Fort Smith National Cemetery. All that my dad was is now fully defined by the “dash”. There will be nothing more of his life except the legacy that he leaves behind. A wife, three children, grand kids and great grand kids. When taken as a whole, that which he has left would make him proud, I think.

So, as I feared, I am heading home without a father, and with a mother hurting from a pain worse than having died herself, and a future in complete and utter disarray, despite our presence. By tomorrow night, after my sister leaves for home, she will be alone for the first time since she lost her husband of 58 years. None of us knows how she will do. But I do believe that at some point she will be okay.

Mini Memoir Monday: The breast day

Lactiferous duct

Lactiferous duct (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ms. P dropped a heavy cardboard box on her desk, stared at us over her Penny Marshall-glasses, and in her dry voice, announced that in honor of breast cancer awareness month, we would all be examining breasts. The boys in the back of the room stood up and cheered.

She opened the box and started pulling out fake breasts. She then threw them around the room like a bizarre version of dodge ball. I caught one and studied it my hand. It was a darker color to represent the Latina community. The erect nipple looked right at me. I pinched one end of the breast, and the fluid inside drooped to the bottom. When I squished it in my hand I felt something firm inside. Something meant to mimic the network of milk ducts

“One out of 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer once in their life. There are twenty four breasts in this box. Three of them have a tumor. Your job is to examine each of them, and find the ones with the tumor. Boys,” she paused and glared across the room with her accusatory finger pointed at them. “It’s important that you know how to find a tumor as well, because believe it or not, one of these days you pimple-faced brats are actually going to have wives, and you can learn a thing or two about taking care of ’em.” She put her hands on her hips and growled.

The class then broke out into a cacophony of giggles, and jeers. One kid hoarded the breasts and made a saline fortress on his desk. Another kid held a breast on either side of his head. “Help my, obi wan kenobi,” he joked. Then he wrinkled his brow, and looked at the breast in his right hand. It was pale, and had a much larger nipple. “I think this one has a tumor.”

“Let me see!” another kid called out, grabbing for it.

For the rest of class I felt up all 24 breasts. I squeezed each one, poked at them, sandwiched them between my hands, but I still could not tell which ones had healthy tissue, and which had tumors. When class was over I handed my teacher the blank assignment. She looked at it and shook her head. “I hope you don’t give up on yourself so easily,” she said.

Last week my doctor found a lump. A sonogram confirmed that is was normal tissue, but I couldn’t help remembering that day in health class. How funny it all seemed. How we all thought the assignment was some stupid joke that had nothing to do with our immortal, teenage bodies. There were at least sixteen girls in that class, so chances are two of them will be diagnosed with breast cancer once in their lives. Let’s all take a cue from Ms. P, and make sure we take this stuff seriously.

***

If you would like to submit your own mini memoir, please go to this page.

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Mini Memoir Monday: A Day, A Word, Two Worlds

Thank you all for the submissions for Mini Memoir Monday. I’m still reading through all of them, but this one struck a cord with me immediately. Congratulations, Book Peeps, on being the first featured author for this series! Here’s her touching story of how she first learned to read:

I quickly cleared a space on the square, red-topped metal folding table that formerly had served as a game table for my 2 older brothers.  Life being what it was for our family in the 50’s, this now dated, somewhat abused and always practical table now lived in my room.  It served me well as my sometimes crafts table and at other times was, with the addition of a bed sheet draped over top, mysteriously transformed into a tiny thatched cottage which sat hidden deep within a magical forest and was home for me and my favorite doll, Susan.  There many stories unfolded as my lively imagination roamed wild and free.

Sitting with me at this same table that had once again been recast, was my 9-year-old brother, sometimes lovingly referred to by our Mother as the ‘absent-minded professor’.  I was 5 and I remember having to put a couple of bed pillows on my chair so when I sat my head would hover over the tabletop. This is where my very first reading lesson was to take place.

My brother carefully removed a clean sheet of lined paper from his 3-ring cloth covered binder.  He picked up a pencil and began to write on that sheet each letter of the alphabet. Then, beginning with A, he slowly sounded out each letter with its correct emphasis. I followed him repeating those short and long vowel sounds, the hard and soft consonants interspersed with a few giggles. After a few run-throughs I had done so well my brother announced I was ready to try a word.

The exhilaration of the moment had me feeling giddy. I could feel the tingles of excitement dancing in my belly begin to rise higher and higher tickling my throat before rising further still where in my head they exploded igniting bursts of goose bumps on top of the skin of my arms and legs.   When I was excited, or tense I would inadvertently hold my breath and still do to this day. I released the captive breath and turned my focus back to the task before me.

My brother removed another clean sheet of notebook paper and wrote out the letters, c-a-t.  Very slowly, I sounded out each letter in heightened anticipation of revealing the word hidden within.  After a second attempt and then a third, I sighed feeling deflated.  I looked up at my brother for help.  “OK,” he said, “do it again but a little faster this time.” I took a deep breath and steered my eyes back down to that sheet of paper. I began as my brother had instructed and after several more attempts, running the letters together faster and faster, it suddenly clicked and out of my mouth tumbled, “CAT”!

Heady with the rush of adrenaline and hungry for more, my brother and I returned to that old reliable table over the course of several days to continue my lessons.  My world was exponentially expanding as letters transformed into words. Before long, I was reading short sentences composed by my brother using the new words I had learned.

As I became more skilled, the words were more quickly recognized which allowed me to relax my grip on each individual word.  As the words flowed, I now saw not only words but also pictures as a virtual lens snapped a corresponding image inside my head.  A dog runs.  See the cat. The birds in the nest go cheep, cheep, cheep!

The momentum continued and in the weeks that followed I gorged on every book, magazine and newspaper in our house including my morning breakfast cereal box, munching on word after word after word.

As I now reflect back it occurs to me what was once only paper littered with unintelligible symbols had now been decoded because of my eagerness to know what it was that others could see. What was gradually revealed, as my understanding expanded, was a world with a perspective very different than the one my unbridled imagination illuminated when it was the sole resident of my boundless world.

This naked truth is something I wrestle with from time to time. It begs, in the midst of my reflecting, to ask the esoteric and deeply spiritual question, “What is real?”

Is it not reasonable that imagination, which knows no limits, is reluctant to share the stage with the unyielding, imperfect, and all too often dominant occupants, man-molded knowledge, practicality and discipline?

These days, after thousands of books have been digested, I hunger still.  I’ve added drawing and writing to my creative repertoire and I’m happy to report my imagination gets more time to flex its muscles now that the daily responsibilities and expectations of every day life have been lessened somewhat.

I now listen as my 3 year old grandson who cannot yet read, makes up his own cryptic tales.  He sits on my lap turning the pages of his favorite book but it is now merely a prop. The story he tells has no connection to the words written and I am no longer allowed to read them to him.  He prefers instead to tell his own unique story in words inspired by his own untamed imagination.

It is a somewhat bittersweet revelation to realize that the day is quickly approaching where he too will, without conscious intention and with much unsolicited help, create a boundary between the wild, wise, limitless and intangible world and the external inorganic world that we, ironically, refer to as reality.

©Book Peeps, June 30, 2012

 

A Call for Submissions

I’d love to read your mini memoirs, and I’m sure my readers would too! If you would like to be a part of the Mini Memoir Monday series, please submit a memoir that’s 500-1500 words. This memoir can be goofy, sad, or just odd. The key to a mini memoir is that you pick a specific moment in time – in other words I don’t want a brief recap of your entire life. I prefer short glimpses into people’s lives; stories that raise more questions than answers.

Forward this to any of your friends who might have good tales 🙂

If you’d like to submit, fill out this contact form, and in the comment section you can include the attachment.

Looking forward to reading your stories!

Mini Memoir Monday: Tragedy at Sal’s

I ran to save a table at our favorite pizza parlor, as my mom ordered a few slices of Sicilian. We had been going to Sal’s Pizzeria at least once a week for as long as I could remember, and I knew the routine well. I loved the faux-stone walls and the faded wood veneer tables. The walls of the bathroom, which were once painted pink, were turning black from everyone’s gratified declaration that they were there. Sal’s was legendary in Westchester, and there was always a line out the door, so I took my duty of seat saving with the utmost seriousness.

On this particular day, a family occupied the one large round table that I wanted, so I took the booth next to them. Since they were right in front of me, I couldn’t help but watch them. A mom, dad, and three teenage sons. The youngest was around my age, and so I couldn’t help imagining what it would be like to date him, an uncontrollable habit that lasted the majority of my teen years. The mom was yelling something at one of her sons, while the dad rested his head in his hands. As time went by, I realized he was keeping his head down longer than usual. His neck looked swollen and red.

“Dad?” the youngest boy asked.

“Dad!” Another boy shouted, standing up so quickly his chair fell backwards.

The mom pushed the father’s shoulder back and his hands fell down, revealing his sweaty face, and drooling mouth.

As the family cried out in panic, I looked around the noisy pizzeria, and it seemed like no one else was noticing what was happening. For a moment I thought I was imagining it all. I looked for my mom in line, and she was giving me her pantomime for “get napkins, Parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes.”

Still in helpless shock, I looked back at the family. By now the father was on the floor, and one of the sons had unbuttoned his shirt. One of the older cooks walking by, told them that he called 911. Now people were starting to turn and look at the man on the floor. It was silent for the first time in Sal’s history. The cook sneered at the onlookers. “Get a life,” he muttered in a thick Italian accent, and then retreated to the kitchen.

The emergency workers pushed through the crowd, and strapped the man to a gurney. The youngest boy cried, as his mom held him close. The family left, and the crowd filled the void of the wake. Their table, littered with half eaten pizza slices, remained empty.

By the time my mom arrived with the metal tray of pizza, a new family occupied the table. They had no idea what had just happened in the same seats only a few minutes earlier. The pizzeria was noisy again. Life went on. The worst day for one family, was just another lunch for everyone else.

Mini Memoir Monday: The wheelbarrow of shame

Wheelbarrow. Photo by sannse.

Photo by sannse. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s hard for a chubby girl with a uni-brow and a lisp to make friends. That’s why I created a secret friendship club when I was seven years old. The club was so exclusive and so secretive that I was its only member. As president, secretary and treasurer, it was my responsibility to find a suitable venue for our clandestine meetings. The basement windows of our old house were surrounded by cement dugouts. These damp, shady pits were the perfect place to hide in the summer. I choose a dugout filled with old building supplies: a rickety ladder, a wheelbarrow, some rusty paint cans, and a tarp.

It’s also hard for a chubby girl to get up and down a rickety ladder. Once I got down in the dugout, I stayed there for hours. This was before the days of helicopter parenting, so my parents probably assumed I was out biking with the neighborhood kids, but really I was spending my days squishing the bugs that came out of the cracks in the cements, and resting in my rolled up tarp bed, reading Roald Dahl books. I always made sure to stock the dugout with Arizona ice tea  and girl scout cookies. It was the perfect haven for a girl who didn’t want to get bullied by the neighborhood kids.

The only problem with my secret club was that there was no bathroom in the dugout, and I drank a lot of ice tea. In the beginning, I braved the rickety ladder and made my way indoors for a proper toilet, but this got tiring after awhile, and the ladder was falling apart. The wheelbarrow seemed like the perfect solution. That’s when I started bringing toilet paper with me.

A wheelbarrow filled with wet paper would not have raised any eyebrows. Perhaps I could have gone on peeing in that wheelbarrow for years, but I got lazy and brazen, and started using that wheelbarrow for something much darker and sinister than pee. That’s right: number 2!

By the end of that summer, my dad, who owns a construction company, decided to have his men over to do some repairs on the house. From the depths of my dugout, I heard him tell Jose to fetch the wheelbarrow. Panic set in. I put down my copy of Matilda and eyed the wheelbarrow that was now attracting a cloud of flies. There was only one thing I could do. I pulled the tarp over the evidence, ran up the ladder, and threw it back so that it crashed against the side of the house and finally came apart. There was no way Jose would be able to get down there. I moved to the bench by the front door and took a seat. My feet dangled in the air as I pretended to lazily read my book without a care in the world as Jose  walked by mumbling, “Where did I put that stupid wheelbarrow?”

I felt a rush of relief when he turned the corner. Just as I was about to return to the house  to get a Popsicle, Jose came back, looking excited. “Now I remember!” he said to himself. He jumped down into my dugout without any assistance from the ladder. I had forgotten that he was nearly twice my height.

Next I heard a slew of what I assumed to be Spanish curses. My dad and a few more men came running. “Is everything ok?” he called down to Jose. I pushed through the crowd of men and clung to my dad’s side. Why is it that criminals always return to the crime scene?

Jose ripped the tarp off the wheelbarrow like a magician revealing his next trick. Everyone stumbled back and pinched their noses closed. My dad pushed me behind him, trying to spare me from the terrible sight. Jose heaved the wheelbarrow up to my dad, and my dad pulled it to the surface. There was a mix of English and Spanish curses.

Jose jumped out of the pit and examined the wheelbarrow. “I think you got a homeless person living in your window well,” he suggested, shaking his head in disgust. “You better call the police.”

At mention of the police, I burst out in tears. I had no idea what they were capable of, but I was pretty sure they’d be able to trace the remnants of girl scout cookies back to me. My dad put his hand on my shoulder. “What’s the matter?”

“I don’t want to go to jail,” I cried out.

Where there is smoke there are bees? Part II

*warning, don’t scroll down if you have a weak stomach*

After the train evacuation, we were eager to relax in the pool and watch fireworks, but the next few days were real work. I had invited my writers’ group to my parents house for a mini writers’ retreat. It’s really easy to set up a retreat.  Here’s an example of our schedule:

9-10: Yoga. Fortunately one of our members is a yoga instructor, but if you don’t have this in your group you can do gentle stretches, or take a walk outside.

10-10:30: Breakfast

10:30-11: A prompt from The Writer’s Toolbox. After writing for fifteen minutes, we passed our computers to the person to our left to read it out loud. It was incredible to hear the diversity of stories we were able to come up with using the same prompt. It was also refreshing to hear someone else reading your work.

11-1: Working on our stories with a 5 minute break in the middle to stretch.

1-2: lunch and discussion about work.

2-3: Art time: We designed the covers of our future novels. I loved doing this because not only is it fun and motivating, I realized a major theme in my story that I never picked up on until I was drawing it. Sometimes all you need is to take a new approach!

3-6: A longer writing block.

6-7:30 : discussion of problem areas in our novels.

7:30-9: Dinner. (We didn’t have a chance to do this, but I thought it would be fun for each writer to prepare a meal that their main character would eat. Knowing what your character eats gives you surprising insight.)


9-11: A rousing game of Cards Against Humanity played with my parents. It was priceless to hear my dad ask, “now what the heck is queefing?”

I should have just stuck to writing, because everything was going great, but then I just had to have some relaxation. On the last day, we decided to spend some time out by the pool.

2013-07-07 17.20.07

The day after the sting.

The second I opened the door to go outside, a hornet flew into my face and stung me below my left eyebrow. Within an hour my eye swelled shut. The pain was intense, but I tried to ignore it. I have an Epipen because I’m allergic to ants (what?!?! who’s allergic to ants?), but since the swelling was localized, I didn’t use it. The swelling went down by nighttime…

And then I woke up at 6am because it felt like there was a burning potato shoved under my eyelid. My eye had swelled up even worse. I called my doctor and left a message on the emergency line. Mike went out to get me benadryl. By the time the on-call doctor called me back, my eye felt like it weighed 200 pounds. The doctor told me to go to the ER. I asked him if I could just take the benadryl, and he said absolutely not. After waiting at the ER for two hours, and giving them all my hard-earned money, the ER doctor told me to take benadryl! Aghh I hate our medical system.

2013-07-07 22.23.21

After two days: At this point I could open my eye slightly, but I sounded drunk when I talked because my lips and jaw were so swollen.

It took four full days for the swelling to go down. I have to admit it was really depressing. I was taking double doses of benadryl, so I was sleeping every other hour, and I couldn’t really talk because my jaw had swelled up, and I was really scared that there would be some permanent damage. I guess this is what happens when a city girl spends time outdoor. On Monday I tried to write my mini memoir, but after an hour of typing I don’t think I stumbled on a single real word.

Now that I’m all back to normal, I would have to say I’d do it all over again. That’s right, the train evacuation and bee sting were nothing compared to the fun, and engaging weekend I had with my writer friends.

I’m really grateful to my parents who hosted us. If you’re not so fortunate to have parents close enough to visit, but far enough to make it feel like a real getaway, I suggest splitting the cost of a cabin rental with your friends. There are cabins in the Catskills that rent for under $150 a night.

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After 5 days, I’m  still a little puffy but I only have a little scab under my eyebrow.

If you don’t have a writers’ group, or a group of friends that have a similar creative goal, I would suggest going on Meetup to find a group. Having friends to motivate and inspire me in my writing goals has made the difference between wanting to be writer, and actually sticking with it through the highs and lows. Writing can be a lonely endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be 🙂

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