Farewell, 2012

2012 started with me thinking my finger had collapsed and I would not be able to go abroad. I have to say, the rest of the year was filled with enormous blessings and healing.

This year, I:

  • Made my home in England.
  • Took an impromptu weekend trip to Barcelona, and saw a cathedral that left me gaping.
  • Flew the TARDIS.
  • Stood in front of the Book of Kells in an empty room. Had my jaw drop in Trinity Library.
  • Got a literary tour of Bath (England) with my obscure knowledge of a ha-ha wall.
  • Sat in a room full of Irishmen (and Scotsmen) on St. Patrick’s Day and felt the floor vibrate with our singing.
  • Discovered my dear love, electric bicycles, and biked Inishmore.
  • Spent long afternoons in an archive pouring over Ian Serriallier’s letters.
  • Managed to get my English professor to say (in his England accent), “Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant!”
  • Saw hundreds of Medieval manuscripts, and later Tolkien, Jane Austen, and other manuscripts–separated only by glass.
  • Wrote in pubs, and went so frequently the staff knew I’d order tea before I got to the bar.
  • Walked the sandy duns of Wales, and later hiked along the cliffs.
  • Sprinted, laughing, from shelter to shelter to hide from stinging rain in Cornwall.
  • Ran up the medieval walls of Conwy and nearly fell down a tower in Conwy Castle.
  • Hiked to a stone circle with my mom, surrounded by peaks and lakes.
  • Walked along Hadrian’s Wall, making friends with other hikers and reveling in the continuous beauty.
  • Looked out my window at the Highlands, shrouded in mist and rain.
  • Attended the most welcoming church I have ever been to, where their prayer and worship humbled me.
  • Fell in love with my new home, and had to leave it.
  • Put my dear dog Rosey down.
  • Sat with my professor almost every Tuesday night being tutored in writing, and learned more than I’ve ever known about grammar and storytelling.
  • Attended Mountain Day with my family and my grandparents.
  • Went on a mad, wonderful trip with the [SOUP] staff to Chattanooga.
  • Wrestled a sheep.
  • Took Kyley to a pub.
  • Pulled off a fantastic launch party for Ramifications, with the help of an amazing staff.
  • Dressed up for the Hobbit midnight showing and brought the whole family along.
  • Didn’t have one single surgery.

Of Blessings, Writing, and Birthdays

About one year ago next week, I began to write Blessings. I figured it might be nice to celebrate its birthday with a little trip down memory lane and some commentary on writing itself.

I feel a particular attachment to Blessings as opposed to my other manuscripts because it is entirely mine. The Fountain’s Edge, Webbed, and Popinjay are all either retellings or inspired-by sort of stories, and I love them dearly, too. But Blessings has been my first story that lives and breathes in my head, fully mine.

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Writing Tips: Getting Away from the Computer

Over the years, the computer has become the place where I either work or I procrastinate. It’s increasingly harder to sit at the computer and write if I’m not already inspired or don’t already have blueprints of what I need to be doing. So this semester, I started looking for creative ways to get the inspiration flowing without having to sit in front of a screen.

You might be thinking, “That’s what journals and pencils are for, foolish child!” I agree. I used to love writing in journals. But with my Rheumatoid Arthritis, I find it increasingly difficult to hold a pen to paper for any length of time. So I’ve come up with other methods that (if not totally pain-free) are at least more entertaining than sitting with a journal.

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Best Books of 2012

Last year I used Goodreads to set a goal of 100 books in 2011, and I made it! This year I gave myself a bit of slack and aimed for 75 books. I wanted to focus more on non-fiction, but… didn’t quite do as well as I would have liked. Non-fiction and I are still learning how to get along.

Out of my 75 books, I present: My best reads of 2012!

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Greatest Hits of Fall 2012

  • Morning walks with Kyley, spying for the deer and saluting the Revolutionary soldier’s grave whenever we passed it.
  • Postcards from my study abroad friends.
  • Getting my Throne of Glass book signed by Sarah Maas.
  • Sitting on the dock by myself during the Gate retreat and watching the stars.
  • The Great Gatsby Gala–particularly when Donovan taught me how to swing dance.
  • The last Mountain Day march, holding hands with a boy (gasp!) and successfully making it up and down the mountain five times.
  • Giving Erika her Perry the Platypus hat.
  • Reading Pride and Prejudice in a hammock on a fall day.
  • Spending an evening doing an analysis on Percy Jackson.
  • Italian wedding soup and pirate accents with Erika.
  • Wrestling sheep.
  • Oak Hill in the Lights and the golf cart guy leaving Anna and Kyley behind.
  • A Christmas Carol with Anna at the Shakespeare’s Tavern.
  • The [SOUP] retreat: found a creepy Confederate graveyard, sat on a cliff to watch the sunset, accidentally joined a parade in Chattanooga, ate delicious Mexican food, stopped at a donut store that had OREO DONUTS, ran out to the bridge to catch fireworks, and I was named “most like a wizard.”
  • Evenings with Greenbaum discussing Blessings.
  • Seeing the crazy turn out at the Ramifications Launch Party, and being supported by so many of my friends.
  • Singing Jingle Bells approximately 25 times with small children during College Connect.

(Hopefully I’ll get around to blogging about a couple of these specific events…)