Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tarot Cards and other hobbies

I used to think that writing was my hobby.  But I'm hoping to turn it into my career.

So what do I do about hobbies?  While listening to music, going to movies, dancing, working out, and hanging out with friends may seem like hobbies, I believe they're more related to our desire as humans to socialize and communicate.

A hobby is something we do to occupy time, something we like but don't necessarily need to make money off of but still makes us happy nonetheless.

I used to think writing was my hobby.  But really, it's a passion.  I have to write.  I don't have a choice in the matter.

But my hobby?  I like to read tarot cards.  Some people believe in them, others think they're tools to communicate with the devil.  Many people are placed down the middle in this particular spectrum.  Personally, I do believe what they have to say but I also realize that the future isn't set in stone, and that I'm able to change it.

Which makes tarot cards so cool.  They offer guidance and help, explain karmic lessons you might need to learn, or reassure you that while it's bleak and hard now, it'll get better soon.  They tell you things, whether you want to hear them or not, and explain how to overcome the difficulty, or that someone's talking bad about you, or bad news is coming.

But they also reassure you in that you can always turn a bad card over.  Really, your destiny is up to you.

I like their symbology, learning about what they mean and how to interpret them in different situations.  But more than anything, I like that I can go them at any time, night or day, and they'll help me out. 

Which says a lot more than many other hobbies out there.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saturday's Breakdown

What I'm reading: Size 14 is Not Fat Either by Meg Cabot and The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
What I'm Listening ToBad Meets Evil and Angels & Airwaves
What I'm Watching: Married... with Children Season 8 (on DVD)
What I'm Writing: As of yet, untitled pirate mythology story - just started Chapter 22 (YA)
What I'm Interested in Right Now: Working out

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Letting Go and Starting Over

I've had one hell of a time these past few months.

In April, Goatboy and I decided that it would probably be best if we stopped seeing each other.  Totally mutual and we said we'd still be friends.  (You know, after we get over each other, because it's hard to care about your friend romantically.)  At around the same time, my best friend in the world and I started growing apart.  I don't know why but I promised that this year, I'd start standing up for myself.  And perhaps that's one of the reasons she started to pull away and align herself with someone else. 

It doesn't matter though.

I've always believed that the little things matter more than the big things.  Whether it comes to guys or friends, sometimes it's best - no matter how hard it is - to let them go.  Maybe the timing is wrong and you'll meet back up in the future where it'll be better to be friends or lovers (both?).  Maybe this is the only time you'll encounter them but your life will never be the same because of them.  Maybe you're the lesson they need to learn (I HATE that!).

Whatever they are to you, sometimes it's best to let them go.

And it's hard.  Trust me.  Breaking up with your boyfriend and best friend around the same time is one of the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with.  But I've learned that I will accept nothing less than what I deserve, whether from a guy or from friends.  It's made me feel more mature, more adult (eek!), and I like myself.  I'm proud of myself.  I admire myself.

And that's how I know that it's the right thing.

What gets me through it are two different quotes: God never gives you more than you can handle and If you love something, set it free; if it comes back to you, it was meant to be and if it doesn't, it was never really yours in the first place.

And this has also made me appreciate those people that are practically permanent fixtures in my life: my mother, my brother, and my friend Mrs. Wolverine (because she's super in love with Hugh Jackman, but then again, who isn't?).

More than that, letting go of things - shedding my cocoon so to speak - makes me excited to start over.  I start at a new school in late September.  I'm going to Comic Con.  My friend from Germany is coming to stay with me for a week.  I'm going to Disneyland.  I'm going to the fair.  Hockey season starts.

But I have to get through these next couple of weeks.

It's going to be hard.  Little things will remind me of both of them and then I'll miss them and wish they were still in my life.  But if they wanted to be here, they'd find a way to be here.  And if they don't, they're not worth it.  And because I've realized personally how short life is, I know I should only interact with people who deserve to be in my life.  Anything else is a waste of time.

Life shouldn't be about suffering.  Yes, there will be pain and hardship.  But it's about dancing in the rain.  And everyone knows how much I love doing that.  :)

And what I'm going through now will make me the beautiful butterfly I'm destined to be. 

So bring on the pain and tears and suffering.  I'm a strong girl - stronger than I give myself credit for.  I'll survive.  I always do.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Saturday's Breakdown

What I'm reading: Size 14 is Not Fat Either by Meg Cabot and Wanted by Sara Shepard
What I'm Listening To:  old school Britney Spears and Avril Lavigne
What I'm Watching: Bones Season 5 (on DVD)
What I'm Writing: As of yet, untitled pirate mythology story - halfway through Chapter 18 (YA)
What I'm Interested in Right Now: Comic Con!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Being Authentic

Yesterday, I found out, thanks to a loyal reader, that I was a victim of plagiarism.

I scoffed at the idea that somebody would want to plagiarize me.  Me!  Not that I didn't think such a thing could happen to me - because I was definitely aware of it, no doubt - but because I just couldn't fathom why someone would want to plagiarize my stuff.  I feel like if my stories were books, they'd be quick, fun beach reads.  Most of them, anyways.  Great when you want something light, but not plagiarism-worthy.

I followed the link my reader sent me and found out that this woman not only plagiarized one story, but three.  Three!  And they were all mine.

I felt... violated.  I'm not going to lie; I felt like she stole three of my children and claimed they were hers.  (Maybe a little overdramatic, but whatever.)  Everything was exactly how I had written it - down to the title and the summary!  Had she no shame?  Didn't she know there was a possibility she'd be caught?

And what kills me is that she was getting reviews, reads, and votes.  I'm not jealous that she was stealing my work, per se, but I was pissed that people she believed she wrote these stories.  Stories I wrote at five in the morning because I just didn't have the time for it.  Stories I outlined and created and wrote in my voice.  My stories were labeled as hers.

I hated it.

Which surprised me because I didn't think I'd have such a strong reaction to it, even when confronted by the blatancy of her lazy actions.

I realized that these are my stories, my babies, which means they're a part of me.  If anyone tries to claim them as theirs, I feel suffocated and angry because they're claiming me as them.  And I'm not.  I'm only me.  (Geez, I hope this is making sense...)

And that's how I know I'll never plagiarize.  (I always knew this, of course.  Sophomore year of high school I got my first and last D in a science class because it was so hard everyone - even the good kids - had to cheat in order to get a decent grade.  But not me.)  Because everything I do or write has some part of my instilled in it.  I could never claim something that isn't mine because it has no piece of me in it. 

Obviously that means I'll have to work harder but that's okay.  It's worth it.  At least, to me.

So, what happened to my plagiarizer?  I left a comment on her author's page introducing myself, telling her she has 24 hours to remove my stories or I'll go directly to the site and inform them of her blatant plagiarism and constantly write on her author's page telling her readers or whoever decided to check her out that she plagiarized my stuff.  A few hours later, the entire author's page didn't exist.

Which left me relieved.

I probably won't ever take my stories down (unless I'm hoping to publish them, of course).  There's a good chance that I'll be plagiarized again, and when the time comes, I'll handle it.

But I'm a writer.  And when you're a writer, there's a good chance someone is going to copy your work.  But those plagiarizers?  They're not writers.  They're just lazy and want some instant gratification.  And remember: the highest form of flattery is imitation.  Even when it's verbatim.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Nerves and Settling Them

I am incredibly nervous.

Today, I sent out two query letters to prospective agents for the novel I hope to get published.  It's different than before (when I was 18, I sent out query letters for a story THE DEAD MAN'S TALE and last year, I did the same with SWIMMING IN RAIN) because I've thoroughly edited my novel and I wrote it in a month - it means so much to me because it deals with something incredibly important to me: hockey.

This is personal.

Which is why I'm nervous sending it out in the business aspect of the publishing world.  Because while it might be personal to me, it's business for them.  If they reject my story, they reject me.

But I'm growing thick skin.  I know I'll need it, especially if I want to be a writer, a published one on that.

So, with my grandfather's hat on my head and the blanket I've had since I was born in my lap - my own form of a subtle alcoholic beverage used solely to calm my nerves - I sent out those two letters.  Something might come from it.  Nothing might come from it.  But no matter what, I'm a writer.  And someday, I'll be a published one.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Saturday's Breakdown

What I'm reading: Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot and The Complete Public Enemy Almanac by William J. Helmer and Rick Mattix
What I'm Listening ToSelena Gomez's new CD, Maroon 5, Miranda Lambert
What I'm WatchingBones Season 3 (on DVD)
What I'm Writing:  As of yet, untitled pirate mythology story - started Chapter 15 (YA)
What I'm Interested in Right Now:  NHL Draft/Free Agency (Brad Richards signing with the Rangers - at least it wasn't with the Kings!)