Friday, February 28, 2014

Day 59

"If you could have any animal in the world as a pet, what would you want?" 

1. A Red Panda
2.  A Hedgehog

3.  A Siberian Husky

4.  A Maine Coon Cat

5. A Munchkin Scottish Fold Cat

6.  A Snow Show Cat

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Day 58

"What are your favorite pair of shoes?"

        I know a lot of women love shoes.  They love shoe shopping and heels and sandals and all the different colors, and they buy multiple pairs of the same shoe in 5 different colors and patterns, and I'm over here like, I've had the same pair of sneakers for 7 years.
        When I was still living in Binghamton, in about 2007, I bought a brand new pair of pink and black Etnies, because they were incredibly comfortable, and because, back then, of my love of pink. They were the most expensive pair of shoes I've ever had and I remember at the time, I was second guessing whether or not I should pay $75 for a pair of shoes. But I have no regrets. These shoes have lasted me for 7 years, all seasons, all weather, walking for miles and miles and I love these freaking shoes.  
        I hate shoe shopping.  I go to Target,  buy three pairs of cheap flip flips in the summer and by the end, I've torn apart all of them. But it's worth it because living in Upstate NY, you only need flip flops for about 3-4 months, if we're lucky. The majority of the year, we're in boots or sneakers.
        I do not wear heals.  Ever.  I bought a pair once and almost broke my ankle.  I do have flats I've had to get for weddings, one black pair, and one red polka dot hemp.  I do love those shoes. Not the most comfortable to walk long distances  in, but they're the easiest to slip on when I have to check the mail or run to the store.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Day 57 - Writer Wednesday!

"Writer Wednesday Q&A with featured author: 
Alyse Michelle Gardner."

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I'm a rambling, blunt, honest, curvy short redhead. Haha! I'm a writer and been doing it the majority of my life. I went to college for four years with a major in Creative Writing and two minors, one in Psychology and the other in Women and Gender Studies. I used to want to be an English teacher, up until I was a senior in high school, but the reasoning behind the why I wanted to teach is why I would like to help others in some way. I'm also an auntie, and am the youngest of four. I love my friends and family with all my heart. I am a jar brimmed full of emotions that's often cracks. I love books, film, tv, art, traveling. Background...? I was raised in the middle of nowhere on a Meat Farm and my dad was in the military up until I finished high school. I support our soldiers, but I'm not a fan of the military. I hate politics. I'm a feminist. I'm for human rights, gun rights, love. I'm a bundle of variety and find it hard to "describe" my background unless guided by specific questions. Attempt to sum me up: I'm a sharp tongued, big-hearted, peace-loving, determined, fighter, caring, sassy, yin-yang balance striver. How's that?

What were you like at school?
That's a tough one. In high school, I guess you could say I wasn't very adventurous, even though I dreamt of it. I was much more uptight and wasn't into risk taking. I think I judged some, somewhat hypocritically. I hate to admit it, but it's true. I wanted to go out more, but I always ended up putting my schooling first and was afraid of what my parents would say. I never wanted to disappoint anyone, especially my family. I feared being a disappointment and strived to be perfect in many ways I suppose. I found ways to have fun of course though, but they weren't big hurrahs. I kept my head low, myself in line, my nose clean...your typical good girl. Hell, even if I liked a style and felt it was me, I didn't do it really because I was judged and I cared what others thought.  Oh, and I was much more into romance I suppose; you know, the kind that would make me gag and roll my eyes now as an adult. Typical teenager in that respect.
I was into school and worked hard for my grades. I was considered smart but still had to put in a few extra hours than some of my classmates in order to gain my good grades in both high school as well as college. I think that's the only similarity between how I was in high school compared to when I was an undergrad striving for my Bachelors. That, and the fact that I was honest, loyal, and cared about others. I lightened up a lot in college, cared less, learned to focus on myself and my own thoughts and feelings. I opened up to exploring. Stopped preaching, took more action. Took more chances. Trusted less, discovered more. Found things that truly inspired me and learned that it was best to listen to myself...whether it be my own gut, heart, or mind, instead of others. I mean, yeah, I listened to others to be there for them and to expand my knowledge, but...I didn't look to others for approval.  I became more outspoken. I became more independent. I was more random. And more often that not, even though I was now a young adult, I learned to let the kid in me out. So I got older and wiser, but also became carefree.
I love who I was in college! Don't really care for who the person I was like in high school. I don't regret how I was though back then, because in my opinion, it's still a segment of my life that makes me who I am today. I grew into myself.

Were you good at English?
Yes! Haha. Is it sad that I kind of jump to answer that? I was the student that my friends envied in my early teens because I wouldn't care about the papers or the books really, breeze through the novels expected to be read as well as the papers, and get high nineties for the grades. When it was time for me to start my junior year, I started taking A.P. English because I was tired of the breeze and knew I wanted to take English in college, so if I was going to do well later I had to be challenged.
I'm still happy that I took that step, because even though it hurt somewhat in my brain each time I got below a ninety, even if it was just an eighty-nine, I found a way to be proud of that grade. I actually had to work for my English grades just like in my other classes finally. I still did well, but unlike the years before, I actually LEARNED. Haha. And the teacher I had for my A.P. classes those last two years for it was wonderful; he was the best adult male figure for me at the time that was actually around considering my dad was overseas most of that time frame. He's my favorite teacher from high school, and he supports me still. I'm extremely grateful to have had him as a teacher, and consider him a blessing, both for his character as well as his push to make me better. Actually, both teachers that were my favorite from my hometown were English teachers: in both middle and high.
Funny how that works.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I would like to be published more of course, but I also want to continue to educate myself in it and grow. I was often told by my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Lawless, that you should learn something new everyday and I am a firm believer in that. I would like to publish collections of my poetry at some point, have some artists perform my song lyrics, finish my novels and publish them as well as more short stories. I've also considered getting into writing scripts someday. Needless to say, my ambitions are endless for my writing career, and that's only a piece of the pie.

Which writers inspire you?
Going quick off the top of my head: J.R.R. Tolkien, Sarah Dessen, Libba Bray. Not going to let myself over think this since that's a bad habit of mine and you'd end up looking up at least thirty authors.

So, what have you written? 
My most recent piece that I've written that is published is "Bite to the Heart" in the short story anthology Slayers, put out by 7DS Books.  It's expected out sometime this spring. It's kind of my first "big" step. I mean, my first piece where people worldwide can read that isn't my work on my blog. Oh yeah, that's another thing I've written: my blog. Haha. I post poetry and lyrics that I've written on there, and sometimes excerpts from pieces in progress and if asked by other author friends, I'm happy to post cover reveals or things along those sorts.
In regards to other pieces I was first published in my college's literary magazine, Jigsaw, for my poem "Jenn" in 2011, and they published me again two years later for my poem "In Bed With The Devil" as well as an excerpt from one of my novels in progress.
Hmm...a few months after I first started actually networking and after I started my blog to showcase my work and share it, I was a guest blogger for author Dixon Rice's blog "Wredheaded Writer.
In regards to awards or whatnot, I won third place in 2012 for the Emma Lazarus: Voice of Conscience Poetry contest for my poem "Missing the Shooting Gun." And in the same year, I received an honorary mention for the Jennifer M. Lloyd Women and Gender Studies essay prize, for a research essay I wrote in the style of a short story called "Sex Slave."

Where can we buy any online or in stores?
The book is going to be available via Amazon and the 7DS Books website as far as I believe, in both Kindle and hard copy formats.

What are you currently working on?
Since I graduated last year, I've been working on editing short stories of mine from the past and sending them out to various pubs. Other than that, I jump between projects: either rewriting some old, unfinished pieces, jotting down scenes that come in my head, or working on sections of two of my novels. And I am almost always coming up with poetry. I've always been all over the place for what I'm working on, and I doubt that'll ever change. Believe it or not, I work best that way....less over thinking allowed and I feel more creative that way.

How much research do you do?
It typically depends on the piece. Or if I have a giant urge to research something. When that happens, it often becomes a research tangent that is almost on borderline obsession.

When did you decide to become a writer?
I was seven.

Why do you write?
To get ideas, thoughts, and feelings out. To tell truths, to tell images and dreams. Be rid of nightmares. Expression. Love. Frustration. Irritation. Pain. Reveal and share fragments of the soul. To survive. To be sane.

Where do the your ideas come from?
All over. Sometimes random images or people will trigger something in me and then it goes from there. Or an event will happen, or a dream...memories creep forward. My ideas are a hodgepodge and medley.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I hate outlines. In the large picture, I suppose I see where the idea takes me for a piece. My writing is messy-organized. I write down things I definitely want, the questions that come to mind as they rise to the surface in my brain, and brainstorms. Sometimes I have arrows or numbers next to the bullets to come forward with an order.
There's often times where I write in separate sections, and then I piece them together in what makes sense and clicks to me as right, almost as if the story is a quilt. I've tried writing in order instead of the quilting style, and it drives me bonkers. I feel zapped out of the creativity and it's harder for me to decide if I'm actually giving the work the proper life.
One of my last completed pieces I did the in order style first, and I absolutely hated the piece, but still loved the idea. In order for me to fix it at all and create some balance to it where I could at least look at it without crying from internal screams, I broke it down by where it broke into new segments, and each segment became a new document. It helped my mind and the piece. Like I said, I'm messy-organized when it comes to writing. Haha!

What is the hardest thing about writing?
Focus! That tends to be my hardest obstacle.
In school, believe it or not, it wasn't hard to focus on it even though my time was often crunched or stolen, where I'd be writing scenes and dialogue in notebooks, on scrap pieces of paper, and going as far as covering my forearms and backs of my hands in pen. That last part wasn't always great, because you had to pray that the ink didn't smudge or wear, and the fact that often, ink doesn't come off my skin easy even with scrubbing. There'd be times where I'd still have black or blue dye on my skin two or three days after scribbling on it.
Seriously though, focus is the hardest thing about writing for me. Either because I've too much that demands attention, or my family intercedes instead of leaving me to work. I need sound when I work for instance, so I often have nonsense television on in the background, or music. Preferably the television though, because I tend to want to sing along to tunes. Having actual people around me, talking? That's a nosedive. Boom! Deserving of a get out glare. Unless you're going to help me somehow, either progression of the piece, feeding me, or offering to take up some of my to-do list in a way that I won't want to re-do it...then go away please and leave me to work two to five hours at least, alone. Trust me, I sometimes wish to send certain family members, or others, some howlers via owls.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Well, for the story I wrote for the book that I'm a contributor to, the hardest thing was the editing and re-writing process. I was nervous! This is my first official published piece that isn't connected to college. And I didn't have much else going on in my life at the time to keep me busy and mix things up, so I was completely involved in the story. Naturally, I over thought, and since it was all I was doing, it was harder to see the problem areas. Once I could though, and friends helped the fog clear...I beat that thing with a stick. I made it my piƱata...I just hope the little bit of candy that comes from it is enjoyed by the readers.
I know I will grow from this, and just keep in my head that this is what it is: my first. It's not going to be a masterpiece, but I did my damndest to make it a good piece. I learned from it, that's for sure. But the nervousness....yeah, it's still there and when I think about it, unless it's to talk about the positive parts, I'm a little nauseous. Don't let this keep you from reading it though. Trust me, it's changed greatly since it's first draft, and as Ernest Hemingway once said, "The first draft of anything is shit." And it's true. I moved forward from that first draft, and even though I may be nervous and nauseous, I'm still proud of myself and don't regret it. Not one bit. I'm still starting out, no one can be perfect. I'm sure there'll be times twenty years from now that I'll be publishing story number fifty and still have those same feelings, but maybe with a little more confidence. As a writer, your story is a piece of you, a child created from someplace's natural to feel this way. Or so I've been told.

What is the easiest thing about writing?
Easiest? Think think think...yes, I'm getting my Pooh Bear on. Easiest would be the ideas and brainstorms. I love the high I get from it all.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?
Sure do, and it always likes to come either when I'm in the height of a piece, actually have time for it, and all conditions are near perfect. Or when I've deadlines. Deadlines and writer's block liked to do the bowchicawowow with each other whenever it was an important piece or essay for a class in college.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
Walk away. Find a distraction. Do something to kick start the brain or heart. You know cars without keys? The driving is blocked...pull a Stitch (Experiment 626), grab the "wires," rub them together and pray for the spark. Just think, if you get rid of the writer's block that's plaguing you, you can then jump right back in the story with the mindset of "Oh good! My dog found the chainsaw!" Surprisingly, what I've noticed with writer's block is that you sometimes just need your own version of a good mental kick in the rear or a personalized refresh button. Just keep pressing it. Repeat until results are found.
For your own reading, do you prefer e-books or traditional paper/hard back books?
The traditional. I'm a hardcore traditionalist for the way I read. I can see the pro's of e-books, I mean I have a kindle app on my computer that I use once in a great while myself, especially if my eyes are tired, but nothing beats the tactile feeling of the weight of a book in my hands, the smell, the memories when you open up the exact copy of a paperback you've read before. I used to work in a library, and I remember how I'd fall upon a book I remembered reading, and it was like greeting a friend (or foe) with fondness. It's like that if I see any of the books I've read somewhere. And the thrill of buying an actual book in hard copy! I hug them like prizes and treasures, hard teddy bears full of pages and worlds. You can't do that each time you download a new "book" onto your reader. And come on, who can compare the smell differences and perfume of the pages of random books to a piece of hardware? I literally inhale each new book I come into possession of...even if I get odd looks from my family members and friends. Come and get it, fresh perfumed stories hot off the presses! Like I said, in this respect, I'm a traditionalist, but to each their own. For me, I'm in love with paper/hard back books. The one love you can guarantee that I've had since I was tiny until the day that I die. And to those who ever help me move around from one place to the other down the road, my apologies. I'll find a chiropractor to refer you to.

What book/s are you reading at present?
I am currently reading Ironside by Holly Black. I first read it about five years ago, and decided to revisit it. And I've also been reading segments from one of my old Human Sexuality books from my college days. The one chapter I've been on deals with the psychological and sociological aspects of relationships. Hmmm...after I'm done with Ironside, I plan to move onto (I think) Abandoned by Meg Cabot.

How do you relax?
That depends on what vices are available, my mood, and who's with me. Some favorites: a nice cold adult drink, a cold coke, a hot mug of tea, a good book (go figure), sketching, watching a film or tv marathon, music. Surprisingly, I've also loved to relax by watching a horror flick (and I ain't into those as a rule of thumb) with a friend if they're the kind of person that calms me with their presence. Oh, and if I'm with one of my best friends, when she gives me a massage, I melt like butter under the pressure and my brain goes to long stress!

What is your favorite motivational phrase.
First thing that comes to my mind: Never give up.

What is your favorite positive saying?
Hmmm...I've often mentally referred to "Fight like a girl." Sounds weird, but it's the truth. It's a song by Bomshel. I think of that phrase, and the song comes straight to my mind. It ends up reinforcing never giving up for me.

What are your top ten favorite books and why?
You don't want to get me started. As Drew Barrymore said in Ever After "I could no sooner choose a favorite star in the heavens" or something like that.

What is your favorite film and why?
Okay, that's a really hard question for me, just like books, I can't really choose one favorite movie. May I just list a few...?
All of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films that were directed by Peter Jackson. Why? I LOVE Tolkien! And they were absolutely fantastic. For the most recent film for those, I sat in the theater, my eyes wide with stars in them, my mouth agape, and was absolutely thrilled like a besotted small child. I'm surprised I didn't bawl with joy.
Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley. The way that film showed me the love between Lizzie and Darcy, as well as into their characters, unlike the other versions and even the novel, I felt was magical and real. I feel the intensity every time I watch it.
The Neverending Story. I want to ride a luck dragon and have a fling with Atreyu.
Disney's Beauty and the Beast. If you don't know why, review this interview.
The Princess Bride. To the pain! As you wish! The sword fight...oh la la!
Walk the Line. Come on, Johnny and June are icons.
Grease. I blame this for the reasoning behind my type of men. Damn you John Travolta.
Pathology. I love Milo Ventimiglia, he's my favorite actor. I admire him so much. He also makes my knees weak more than any other actor. But for real, I'm not into most thrillers, but I can watch this one on loop.
Dirty Deeds. Another Milo movie. I'm really trying to narrow this down. Every time I've watched the movie, I have laughed my ass off. I have to keep from spilling what each deed is whenever someone watches it with me for their first time. I love it even more after I saw my dad let out his own version of cackling laughter for a certain deed involving a morgue. That's a good sign!
Okay, I'm going to stop listing now, otherwise I'm going to be divulging my entire movie collection.
Well, maybe not the entire collection, but still.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don't let others get in your way. If something feels wrong, it is. You can do anything you set your mind to. Be yourself sooner and don't let anyone make you feel differently.
And fight for love...if it comes sooner than others expect for you, or doesn't fall in line with what they want for you, don't let yourself give a shit. If you feel it's real, and it's strong, don't step to the least not immediately. If you think it's best for the other person to make them happy, okay, but don't put the chance for your happiness aside just because of rules and expectations, because it may be real and that's never going to go away no matter what your betters try to tell you or how much you fight against it. So accept it, and fight for it. Love is important and is going to change you kid.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Don't aspire. Do.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?
They are always welcome to chat with me via my Facebook like page or via Twitter. I've also a youtube page as well as my blog.

Links to Alyse Michelle Gardner :
Facebook Page

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Day 56

"Do you have any tattoos? If not, do you want any? If so, where and of what?"

        I love tattoos.  So far, I have six.  I want more.  Lots more.
        I got my first tattoo when I was 19.

{Back when I was a music major, as you can probably tell.}

     I didn't get my next tattoo until I was 24.  

        Then a year later, I got two of them a month apart from each other.  
        Then a month later, I went back and got my bracelet.  

        Then in May of 2011, Matt's friend started doing tattoos on the side, and he had given Matt a few of them, so we went to his place, and I got my book tattoo, with Florence + The Machine lyrics to "Blinding". 

        Then a year ago October, I got my tattoo for Dylan.  Matt's friend did this one too, and he did it upside down and freehand.  
I took this picture right when it was finished.  I want to put some kind of Dr Seuss-ish background behind the words or something else a bit whimsical.  I think Dylan's name came out perfect. 

        I do want more tattoos. I'd like to get lyrics from Bjork's "Crystalline" on my shoulders, "It's the sparkle you become, When you conquer anxiety" broken up between them. Just as soon as I conquer my anxiety.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Day 55

"What inspired you to become a writer?" 

        My imagination.
        I have always loved writing ever since I can remember.  When I was in the 5th grade, I wrote a story for English class and we all had to read them out loud. It was one of the few experiences in my life that I wasn't scared because everyone in my class at the time really liked my story and was excited to listen.
        Then in the 6th grade, we wrote short stories for Halloween, and although I don't have the actual story anymore, I remember the title was "The Ghost In the Graveyard."  Our teacher read them all out loud to us and there was a prize at the end.  Everyone voted on a scale of 1-10 on how much they liked the story, and my story won. I think I got a candy bar or a sticker or something. After that, I mostly wrote personal stuff in a journal my mother gave to me one day.  A lot of it was about my only friend at the time, who I wasn't able to see, due to extenuating circumstances.
        I wrote "song lyrics" and emo poetry in high school, but at that point, I had too much anxiety to share any of it with people.
        My problem was that, even though I enjoyed writing, I didn't always like to read.  I had the idea in my head that I didn't want to read what other people wrote, I wanted to read what I wrote. I didn't mean it in a cocky, I think I just hated so much of the required reading we had to do in school, that it kind of ruined reading for me.
        And there were times I thought my ideas were better than what ever book I was forced to read at the time. I hated Shakespeare and The Fountain Head and I wasn't able to truly enjoy To Kill A Mockingbird until I was older and able to understand it better.

        My senior year in high school, I wrote this kick ass paper for PIG (Participation In Govt) that got me an A. I wish I still had a copy of that somewhere.  I can't even remember what it was about, only that I was really proud of it.
        I think the one author who inspired me the most was J.K. Rowling. This was a woman who came from rock bottom and made her way back up in the world by not giving up on Harry Potter and her story ended up being one of the best selling books of all time. And she is such an amazing human being, she lost her billionaire status because she donated to much of her money to charity.  That is what life is about.  Hoarding money doesn't make you successful. Being rich doesn't make you successful. It's what you do with the money you made, or at least the excess you don't actually need if you're lucky enough to have made millions of dollars.
        I can't say that it isn't a dream of mine to become a successful writer and be on the New York Times best seller list and have people read my stories and enjoy them.  But being able to make a living off of it would be good enough for me.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Day 54

"What are some of your favorite words?" 

        As a writer, we all have our favorite words.  Some of them are totally subconscious because we tend to have one or five we over use.  The word I over use when I'm writing is "sigh", or any variation of it.  Every character in all of my stories sighs, a lot.  It might be because I sigh a lot, even though it's usually never meant as "exasperated" or "annoyed" or "sad", just me breathing and letting out a long breath. Sigh is not one of my favorite words.  It's just a bad habit I need to break.
        Here are a bunch of my favorite words for you;

  • Oneirataxia (n.) the inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality.
  • Atychiphobia - (n.) fear of failure; fear of not being good enough
  • Meraki (n.) the soul, creativity, or love put into something; the essence of yourself that is put into your work {greek, pronounced mA'-rak-E}
  • Resfeber (n.) the restless race of the traveller's heart before the journey begins, when anxiety and anticipation are tangled together; a 'travel fever' that can manifest as an illness 
  • Honne (n.) what a person truly believes; the behavior and opinions which are often kept hidden and only displayed with one's closest confidants {japanese}
  • Eleutheromania (n.) an intense and irresistible desire for freedom
  • Heliophilia (n.) desire to stay in the sun; love of sunlight
  • Tsundoku (n.) buying books and not reading them; letting books pile up unread on shelves or floors or nightstands {pronounced tsoon-doh-koo}
  • Drapetomania (n.) an overwhelming urge to run away
  • Elysian (adj.) beautiful or creative' divinely inspired; peaceful and perfect
  • Nefelibata (n.) lit. "cloud-walker"; one who lives in the clouds of their own imagination or dreams, or one who does not obey the conventions of society, literature, or art {pronounced ne-fe-LE-ba-ta}
  • Acatalepsy (n.) the impossibility of comprehending the universe; the belief that human knowledge can never have true certainty
  • Apanthropinization (n.) the resignation of human concerns; withdrawal from the world and its problems
  • Derive (n.) lit. "drift"; a spontaneous journey where the traveller leaves their life behind for a time to let the spirit of the landscape and architecture attract and move them
  • Erlebnisse (n.) the experiences, positive or negative, that we feel most deeply, and through which we truly life; not mere experiences, but EXPERIENCES
  • Firgun (n.) the act of sharing or even contributing to someone else's pleasure or fortune, with a purely generous heart and without jealousy; or of sharing credit fairly {hebrew}
  • Shenanigans (n.) secret or dishonest activity; silly or high-spirited behavior; mischief; to call, claim or declare shenanigans is to rhetorically label someone as officially deceitful, improper or otherwise incorrect
  • Hiraeth (n.) a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past
  • Kairos (n.) the perfect, delicate, crucial moment; the fleeting rightness of time and place that creates the opportune atmosphere for action, words or movement; also, weather
  • Meliorism (n.) the belief that the world gets better, the belief that humans can improve the world
  • Metanoia (n.) the journey of changing ones' mind, heart, self, or way of life
  • Nemophilist (n.) a haunter of the woods; one who loves the forest and its beauty and solitude 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Day 53

"Would you rather people be honest with you, even if it’s something not good, or lie to you to make you feel better?"

        Being honest can be a tricky business, especially when you don't want to hurt a persons feelings.  But there are ways of being honest without being mean.  Sometimes, it may take a while to find the right words, but I promise, they make all the difference in the world.
        There have been many times I have been told the blunt, honest truth by my mom or my best friend, and at first it felt like someone punched me straight in the chest, but then I realized they were right.  Accepting the truth can sometimes be harder than saying it.
        For people who constantly spawn lies about everything and anything, that's a problem.  Remember, if you're going to lie, you better have a damn good memory.
       When it comes to serious situations, be honest.  If someone is making a really bad decision that could ruin their life forever, then they need to be told, even if they choose not to listen.  It also depends on the source, too.  Someone you just met could tell you something in their attempt of being honest, but if they don't know you, it's kind of hard to take their advice seriously because it might not pertain to you at all.  That's happened to me before.  Someone only knew a snippet of a situation I was in and a friend of a friend tried to tell me to do this and that, and I'm like no, I'm doing this because you don't know what the fuck you're talking about.
        If someone is sick and they look don't look too well, I think it's okay to tell them they look good or better, because a white lie like that can cheer a person up, even if they know you're just saying it to make them feel better.  That's more about being kind, though.  No one with a serious illness wants to hear, "WOW, you look like shit!"
        If you're dating someone and you don't really like them, or aren't really attracted to them, but you're afraid to say anything - that's just being a coward.  It's better to let them down sooner rather than later, because then attachments won't form and you're no longer wasting time.  Just say, "You're a nice person, but I don't see this going anywhere." Or "I like you, but only as a friend."  You can't force yourself to feel something you don't feel.  Some people won't take it easily, but others will accept it and say okay, I appreciate your honesty, and they can move on and find the right person for them.  Leading a person on does more harm than good.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Day 52

"What gives you everyday inspiration?"

        Dylan, my son, gives me inspiration to wake up everyday and know it will be worth it.  He is worth everything.
        Music heals my soul, whether it be sad or happy.  Sometimes a good, long cry is exactly what I need.  Sometimes, I need to do a happy dance to make cleaning less boring, and sometimes it's good background noise to write to.
        Gratitude.  Being grateful for everything I have and remembering it could be (and has been) so much worse.
        My friends, my bubbies, my writing friends on twitter. Knowing that, even though some people can be jerks and assholes, there are good people in the world.  It just takes time to find them.  I think I am very lucky to have found a few of the good ones.
        Love.  Love is more important than anything. Love is all you need.
        My imagination/dreams.  Knowledge can take you from A to B, but imagination can take you anywhere.  I've always had a very vivid imagination.  I've always been able to play make believe.  Being a writer, it's a good thing, however, it can sometimes be a burden when you have to force yourself back into reality and deal with the hard stuff.  That is one thing I still have yet to learn how to do, properly.  Stressful situations are not my strong suit.  But I sure do love my escape.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Day 51

"What is one of the best dreams you have ever had?"

        Back in July of 2008, I moved back home to Rochester from from Binghamton.  I moved down there when Dylan was about 6 months old in 2005.  Some of my experiences down there were good ones; I have to admit, I learned a lot about the world and people and how not all families are the same and that doing something one way doesn't mean it's the right or only way to do it.
        But after a year of being very isolated and without a car, I decided it was time to move home when the lease of my apartment was up.  It was a bittersweet goodbye because there was one person down there who was my rock, my bright light at the end of a dark tunnel, my Katie.
        When I first moved home, I kept having all these dreams about being back in Binghamton, back in the Vale.  This went on for the first month I was back.  I felt like the place was haunting my dreams.  But the most vivid dream I can remember was the last dream I had about being Binghamton, and it was the most wonderful thing I could have experienced at the time.
        It all started back at my old apartment.  I was standing in the kitchen that was filled with boxes, and for some reason, I was moving back in.  As soon as I realized in my dream that I was moving back to Binghamton, back into my old apartment, I panicked.  Completely and totally panicked.  I started crying and ran up the split level stairs to the living room, only to see my best friend, Katie, helping me unpack.
        Now, the living room of these apartments have sliding glass doors that lead to the back "yard" (more like ten feet of grass) before you hit the woods.  At night, when you look back there, all you see is darkness.  There is no light at all.   I looked up and realized the door was open and the curtains were open, so I panicked again and closed the door, but the lock was stuck and I couldn't lock it.  We had these wooden broom sticks that you put behind the door to prevent them from opening, but I couldn't find it, so I just backed away from the door and pulled the curtain close really quickly... But before I did, I saw something back there.  And as scared as I was, I pulled the curtain open a bit and all of the sudden, I saw light.  I opened it all the way and bright white light filled the back yard, and there were wild flowers and dandelions seeds filled the air, and for the first time in over a year, I felt safe.
        I turned back to where Katie stood, holding an empty box, and she took my arm and said, "Everything is going to be okay now, honey.  You're okay."
        And that's when I woke up.
        That was by far the best dream I've ever had, and one I will never forget.  It is very rare that at the end of a nightmare, you get to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I am so grateful for my brain (and possibly Xanax) for giving me this vivid, amazing, closure filled dream.
(I have this tattooed on me.) 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Day 50

"What are three words or sayings you can’t go a day without using?"

        I'm going to pick 3 sayings, because there aren't many one words I use daily besides "like", which I hate myself for saying all the time.  I watch interviews with kids from my generation and younger and every other word out of there mouth is "like", and it makes me want to strangle them.
        Three phrases I cannot go a day without saying are:

"I'm sorry."  
        I have a bad habit of apologizing for everything. Literally, everything.
        "It's raining outside," My fiance will say, just as an observation.
        "I'm sorry," I say.
        I'll bump into the dining room chair and apologize to it, like I hurt an inanimate object.  It's a habit I know I need to break.
        I read an article online that listed 23 things every women should stop doing. I was guilty for almost all of them.
        My best friend from Binghamton, Katie, told me while I was down there visiting a few years ago that I apologize for nothing whenever I was around another person down there.  She told me a story about her sister, who never apologizes for anything, and instead said, "Oh, well..." and brushes it off.  Katie suggested that I start doing that because there was absolutely nothing for me to be sorry for.  When in my head, I feel like I'm just apologizing for being alive.

"I'm okay/fine." 

        This is one of those things I've been programmed to say over the years, whether it be true or not, (mostly not), but sometimes it's easier to just say I'm fine than trying to explain what's wrong, especially when you have a hard time finding the words to tell someone what is wrong.  Sometimes, it's something stupid, like a person says something that hurt my feelings but I'm too much of a coward to tell them it hurt.
        Other times, it can be something serious like, "I'm feeling really depressed and lonely and feeling like hurting myself again."  I don't like to tell people that one because 1, I know it stresses them out, 2, it causes them to worry about me when they have their own shit to worry about, and 3, I am afraid some people will think I am just looking for attention.
        Now, if you know me at all, you know that I am not in any way shape or form an attention seeker.  I hate being the center of attention and I hate drawing crowds to me.  Whenever I have or have had panic attacks, I tend to hide in a bathroom somewhere or anywhere I can be alone.  People tell me that it's okay to ask for help, but then there are times when I do, I am told I need to learn how to do shit on my own and be independent, and let shit go.  Don't you think if it were that easy for me to let shit go, I would have done it already?
        And last, but certainly not least:

"I love you."
          I tell everyone important to me that I love them.  Constantly.  My friends, my family, my fiance, and especially my son.  We even do the ASL sign for it whenever we can't hear each other, like when he's on the bus on his way to school, or in the car, leaving for weekend to visit his father and grandparents.
        This is not something I take lightly, nor do I just say out of habit. I want to make sure that everyone I love knows that I love them and they are important and matter. Especially my son. I never want a day to go by without him knowing how much I love him and how much his existence, even when times are tough and he drives me crazy or I drive him crazy, matters and has helped me to be strong when I feel like I have no strength left.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Day 49

"Would you like to travel abroad to learn about new things throughout the world? If so, where would you like to go?

        I'm going to narrow it down a bit, because even though we say It's a small world after all, it's actually a big world, such a big big world!

        1. The UK - England, Scotland, Ireland.  My DREAM vacation is Ireland, however, I think it would be really cool to see all the old castles and learn the history of some of the places.  I'm not a fan of beer or tea (BLASPHEMY!) but I sure do love those freaking' accents.  And all I've ever wanted in life was for a beautiful Scottish man to call me 'love'.  Oh... *melting*.
        2. The Netherlands - I have ancestry roots here, in Limburg according to, and I think it would be nice to see just how far back I could trace those roots.  I believe this side of my family is where mental illness may come from, and even though I doubt they have many medical records from that far back, it would still be nice to know just how many other people in my lineage were sociopaths.
        3. Germany - I also have ancestry roots from here, mainly from Prussia, but the Eick side of my family has many links to Germany.  I can't remember, but it's either my 2nd great or 3rd great grandparents had very thick German accents because they came here from Germany in the late 1800's, and I did know my Great Grandmother, she lived to be 98, and she was able to do a very detailed family history report, even before the days on the internet!
        4. Africa - I know that is kind of vague, but to be honest, I'm not sure which part of Africa I'd like to go to.  I'd like to stay in a very tribal village and learn their customs and beliefs and the way they live their lives, even though it is so totally different from the way we live in the US. I feel like that experience would open my mind so much as to how other people around the world live and just how lucky we are in America, even some the "poor".

Monday, February 17, 2014

Day 48

"What are some book ideas/pieces you are currently working on?"

        Aubrey Nightingale seemed to be a never ending process of writing, rewriting, editing, deleting, and closing because the rewriting never ends.
        I have many other stories, a lot of them started out as NaNoWriMo's that I have yet to finish.  One of my biggest problems; I can never seem to finish anything I start.  I have these awesome ideas for stories and start them, get a few chapters in, and then ... I don't know.  Part of me gets bored and needs a break, and then another part of me just gets distracted by the internet.  Or television.  Or television on the internet.  All this instant streaming will be the death of me, I tell you.

        I'm always writing poetry, some of it is manic depressive and others are allegories.  I'd realized that most of what I write is allegory for something or another.
        I've also recently started toying with a Memoir, although I'm not entirely sure how to write non-fiction, besides in blog form.  I have found the perfect title for it, but I have to keep my lips sealed for now.  At least until I actually start writing it out.  Titles change.  So can stories.  You never know where you'll end up, even in a memoir.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Day 47

"What are the best things about being your age"

        I'm not 30 yet .  There's a plus.  Not saying 30 is bad or depressing, I'm actually looking forward to turning 30, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy the last year of my twenties. 
       The best things about being 29 are: I am done with school, I'm done looking for the one I want to spend the rest of my life with, I'm done having kids (at least, I think so...) I can buy wine whenever I want it, and I am cleverly disguised as a mature and responsible adult.  All while I live most of my life in a fantasy world, and I get to write all my crazy, wonderful, imaginative ideas and, sometimes, people actually pay me to read them.  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Day 46

"What are you grateful for?"

        I am grateful for my cat getting better after being sick for a few days, then getting better, and then getting sick again.  I am glad he is no longer in danger of a serious blockage and can use the litter box again, without trying to pee all over the place.
        I am grateful for my son, who is by far, the best kid ever.  He has come so far and overcome so much and I am so proud of him for being so resilient and brave and curious and loving.
        I am grateful for sunshine, which is a rarity this time of year in upstate NY.  Even though I do take a vitamin D supplement, I have found myself in a deep depression lately and I promise myself as soon as the weather is warm again and the sun is shining, I will spend an entire day outside reading and gardening and raking up all the crap that is still under the snow from last fall.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Day 45

         How do you ask for help without people thinking you're just looking for attention?
        How can you make a person understand what you're going through, when they've never been through anything like it?
        How many times do you have to apologize in order for someone to forgive you?
        How do you move on from something you buried so deep, you never thought it would creep back up again?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Day 44

"Acts of Kindness, Random or not."

        My Aunt is without a car and has been on disability/early retirement for about four years now.  She struggles with similar issues I have, like depression and anxiety, except hers is a bit more severe than mine, but I won't go into details.  She also has other health problems such as Graves' disease, which ultimately lead to her needing her thyroid zapped to kill it, and taking a supplement to replace the hormones the thyroid would normally produce.  She is very isolated, which for the most part she doesn't mind, but I can understand that sometimes, it can become very lonely.
        So, whenever I have the car, I sometimes go over and visit her, help take some garbage out and vacuum (she has a hard time due to spinal issues), and recently I started bringing her to the grocery store.  My grandfather usually takes her every Thursday but he hurt his wrist and is unable to drive for a few weeks.  Since I don't work outside of the home and rarely have anything pressing to do, I do not mind doing these things for her.  I like to hang out with her.  She is incredibly educated and intelligent and can always keep up a good conversation, even though I don't talk very much, I usually enjoy listening to her.
        Today, I took her to the grocery store (Wegmans for the WIN!) and it felt good knowing that I could help someone by doing something so simple, so easy as bringing them somewhere they needed to go.
        I will continue to bring her to the store until my grandfather is able to again, and if he is not, then this will become a weekly thing for me and I gotta say, I'm looking forward to it.  I feel like it gives me something, even though it is small, to look forward to.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Day 43

"What door would you walk through?"

{*no copyright infringement intended}

        While I love the color purple, that door just doesn't do it for me.  It's too plain and the color is too light.  So, I'd have to say door number 4.
Door 4 – You are an old soul that can be slightly dramatic. You are a very artistic person that loves to express yourself through writing, music, art or some kind of expression. You are a dichotomy; for you can be very open and friendly, yet closed and deeply private. You often have your guard up, keeping your thoughts and troubles to yourself. Although you might think that nobody will truly understand you, if you allow yourself to open up and share your feelings, you will feel so much better. Deep down you are not aright with any imperfections and you feel the need to come across as “the rock” in any group situation. Know that people are willing to share their feelings with you and want you to share your feelings with them.
        I am slightly dramatic.
        I am very artistic.
        I am totally a dichotomy.
        I always have my guard up...
        I keep my thoughts to my self... unless I'm writing, or need to vent.
        There are very only two people in the world who truly understand me...
        I don't think I'm "the rock" though... that's a bit off.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Day Forty Two {or 42, which is also the answer to life}

"How's that existential crisis coming along?"

        If you don't know me very well, or haven't been around me, and don't care enough to read what I post on Facebook or Twitter... I have been experiencing a bit of an existential crisis for the past few weeks.
        I was reading an article on Huffington Post titled, "19 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before I Turned 20 So I Didn't Waste a Decade."
        The numbers that stuck out the most for me were:
2. Know who the fuck you are. {I'm 29 and still trying to figure that out...}
9. The world you live in is sick.
11. You are not responsible for the actions of those who hated themselves so much that they hurt you on purpose.
19. You are inherently valuable.
        I know there are quite a few of them that I felt I could relate to.  I already knew about number 9, but I learned that fairly recently (within the past couple years), but I just wish I had learned it much earlier on in life, so when I went out into the world at 20-25, I wasn't so thrown by it.  I think it would have saved me a lot of unnecessary anxiety and I probably would have dealt with things a lot better.
        The one that probably had the biggest effect on me was number 11. I don't like to get too deep into the serious graphic details of my personal life online, or at least the ones that have potential to dig up old wounds for other people {because they affect more than just me}, because I'm very non confrontational, and I don't want the wrong person to read it and then I end up getting a phone call that starts the first battle of a war I am not ready to fight yet.
        But recently, things from my past have made their way back into my mind.  Things I truly believed I had already dealt with a long time ago.  But how does a teenager deal with things?  The only way a teenage mind can, and I don't think it's completely thorough.  Now that I am almost thirty, I feel like maybe I didn't deal with them the way I was supposed to.  Because it's starting to effect my life and my relationships and the way I think about everything.
        A couple a days ago, I read another article online from a Facebook link that was a trigger for flashbacks for what happened to me as a child because it was almost the same thing.  After I read the article, I read all the comments underneath the FB post, and almost every single one of them said the same exact thing; "Where were the parents?!"
        This got me thinking a lot.  I had very little supervision as a child/preteen/teenager.  My parents were more permissive and uninvolved, as far as parenting styles go.  I don't want to spend the rest of my life angry and blaming my parents for everything that is wrong with me because, like I said, I'm almost 30 and it's time to let shit go...
        But there are times I do wish they would own up to the fact that some things were their fault because they weren't around, or because they were too caught up in their own lives to pay attention.
        I am not angry anymore... but I am confused, and I feel like I don't understand... but sometimes when I think I do understand, and my reason is valid, I don't like the answer to the 'why'... because, in all honestly, all I did was be born.  I feel like all I can do is accept it and try to move on.  Because at this point, I can't ask questions.  I will never get that peace of mind. I can either go on obsessing, or I can learn how to let it go.
        I was never taught how to handle stressful situations, or how to let stuff go and move on and be better.  When something bad happens, in my head, it's the end of the world and it can never be fixed and life as we knew it is over and I should just go kill myself now.
        Yeah... that's Jess' logic for you.  
        In hind sight, I know that the car needing to get a new tire {thanks potholes!!} and an alignment or the furnace "breaking" {or not breaking, but it wouldn't turn on, so we called the heating guys to come look at it, but then it turned on and was fine, but we still had to pay them $$$ for NOTHING} or my cat having crystals in his bladder that make it really hard for him to urinate, are not the end of the world.  But they are stressful, and what makes it worse is that we rarely have enough money to fix anything when shit like that happens.
       Everything happens at once.  This winter has been nothing but one crappy thing happening after another, and I just need it to give a little.
        I have been the victim of other peoples hatred of themselves or their situations projected onto me for way too long and I have to say I don't want to be a victim anymore. I am so sick of it.  I just want to move on and let everything go and have a happy life with my new family that I made for myself.  But those ideas are so foreign to me... I feel like I don't even know what a happy life or a happy family is.  I never had it... not saying my whole life was horrible and full of hate, but a lot of it was.  My parents hated each other, and someone else really hated me for no other reason except that I was born.  At least, that is the conclusion I get based on the evidence I have.
        Everyone says experiences like these make you stronger and better and help you grow, and that children are resilient.  Looking back at myself as a child, I don't think I was resilient. I think being resilient is something our parents teach us how to be.  I wish I were more resilient.  I wish I knew the answers to so many questions.  I let all of this, everything that happened from the time I was born until now, bring me down so far and so low, that I'm afraid of people.  I'm afraid of the world and the idea of work because work means confrontation and dealing with stressful situations, and it's such utter bullshit that I've allowed the rest of the world get to me like this.
       And I've become so lonely and isolated, I want to kick myself in the ass, because I did this to myself.  I made all of these choices.  I chose to let this bother me, I chose to move to an isolating place without a car, I chose to let others peoples opinions define me.  I could have been stronger and had higher self esteem and self worth and confidence and told every single one of those people exactly what I needed to say to them, but I was too afraid.
        I don't want to be afraid anymore.  I don't want to question my worth or my value or whether or not I deserve to live.
        Because I am worthy and I am invaluable and I do deserve it.  I am good enough for my kid.  I am good enough for Matt.  I am good enough for everyone.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Day Forty One

"What is your biggest fear?"

        Losing my kid, or something seriously bad happening to him, but I think that's every mothers biggest fear...
        I'm also afraid of driving in rush hour traffic, driving in really shitty weather (like now...), crowded placed, enclosed spaces, and ... never overcoming them.  

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Day Forty

"What was your least favorite subject in school?"

        Hmm.  Well, it depends on the year.  
        History was always the most boring for me, and junior year of high school was the hardest... My teacher was SO boring. Nicest lady, but oh my gawd, she was boring. 
        English was annoying.  I loved writing but I hated the required books we had to read.  I can't remember one book I actually liked in high school, and fucking Shakespeare... I don't know why they still teach something that is so outdated, no one can understand what the fuck he's talking about.  Hasn't anyone ever heard of something being "lost in translation"?  
        Math was my favorite subject in 8th grade, but after that, it became pretty hard for me.  In NY, when I was in school, we had Course 1, 2, 3, then pre calc, and calc.  I was in course 2 three times, so... 
        Earth science was boring.  Biology wasn't too bad.  Never went past biology though.  Didn't need to when I was in school.  
        Music was my favorite.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Day Thirty Nine

"Show us a picture from your childhood."  

        I was about 2 years old here.  

Friday, February 7, 2014

Day Thirty Eight

"Write a few powerful song lyrics that you love."
Funny you're the broken one but I'm the only one who needed saving
'Cause when you never see the light it's hard to know which one of us is caving.
~ Stay by Rhianna

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Day Thirty Seven

"List the ten most played songs on your iPod." 

        (Not in order...)
  1. Pompeii - Bastille
  2. Say Something - A Great Big World
  3. Brave - Sara Bareilles 
  4. I See Fire - Ed Sheeran 
  5. Luck Be A Lady - Frank Sinatra 
  6. Video Games - Lana Del Ray 
  7. Royals - Lorde 
  8. Atlas - Coldplay 
  9. Loud Noises - Yuna
  10. Dark Horse - Katy Perry

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Day Thirty Six

"If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?"

        Anywhere with white beaches, coconuts, palm trees and no fucking snow.
        It has been the coldest winter New York State has seen in, like, 30 years or something.  I might be exaggerating for dramatic effect, but you see my point.
        So, right now, if I could be anywhere, according to the current weather map, I'd say Miami.  It's the only place left in the US that is actually warm.  

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Day Thirty Five

"A passage from a book that has touched you."

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” 

― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Day Thirty Three

"What are some of your favorite foods?"

Eggs and Bacon 

Steak. Hamburger. Beef in general. 

Spicy Guacamole. Noms.

Pico de gallo!  Not salsa (it's too soupy) 

Hot, fresh kettle corn.  NOMS.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Day Thirty Two

"Fucking Rant"

        Fucking ignorant fucking cunts.  I fucking hate them.  They make this unnatural anger rise inside of my chest and all I want to do is punch someone in their fucking face.  Or cut myself.  But I'm not 16 anymore and I haven't done that in 8 years, so I'm just going to let it all fester inside of me until one day I explode and end up killing a shit ton of people who piss me the fuck off, because it's easier for me to buy a gun than it is to get mental health care.
        Here is a perfect example for you of ignorance at it's best.  People don't get food stamps on the first of the month.  Some people get them on the 2nd, or 4th, or 8th or the 16th.  I don't know how they figure it out, it might be based on the date you apply, or a random selection, but you can get food stamps on any day of the month.
        But, you know what?  It's okay that you don't understand.  You've never been in situation where you've ever needed food stamps, so your ignorance is forgiven.  I just hope, for your sanity's sake, that your company doesn't decide to downsize you, or your husband never gets laid off or business gets so low that you have none, and you're always safe in your little corner at Walmart, where all those government moochers are not there spending the pennies they get to feed their kids, while the corporation you work for gets a 5 billion dollar tax break, and the CEO's smoke their crack and meth, all while only having to work 4 hours a week and still make more money than you make in a fucking year.
        I know where you went to college, I know you're not that stupid.  You work for a fucking bank.  You work for the biggest fucking government moochers there are in America.
        Not everyone who gets assistance are cheating the system.

        SNAP are so rarely abused ... less than 4% of people who get them are abusing the system.  It's not easily faked. You have to show them proof of income and they check every six months.  My problem is people are so upset over the select few who abuse food stamps, which is a few hundred dollars a month, versus the billions of dollars a month that banks and CEO's steal because they get a free pass from paying their fucking taxes.  
        This country is so fucking broken and we don't even know it.  "Just because it's on the internet doesn't mean it's real" well, JUST BECAUSE IT'S ON THE NEWS DOESN'T MEAN IT'S REAL EITHER. Who do you people think controls the news?! 
        And again, refer to the above picture.
        People are HOARDING MONEY and no one seems to have a problem with that!  The rich don't always work for their money, either! They inherit it, or work 4 hours a week and spend the rest of their time smoking meth and vacationing in the Cayman Islands or skiing in Switzerland... 
        I am so fucking sick of being judged by people who have no idea what it's really like, because feeding my kid will always be more important than my pride.  You don't know my situation.  You have no right to judge me. 
        I look around at everything I have and consider myself lucky, because in this country I might be poor, but compared to the rest of world, I am fucking rich. I have clean running water and heat and electricity and a solid roof over my head. This country has become so fucking materialistic and shallow, it can't see the ground anymore with it's nose stuck so high up in the air like that...  
        Fucking fucks.