Wednesday, January 30, 2013

6 Reasons Why I Love My Life

My family isn't very touchy-feely. We don't really hug, we don't really say  "I love you," but we all are very close nonetheless. In this time of my life, I don't really know what's going to happen next. It's easy to get majorly stressed out, but I try to count my blessings, so that I don't get discouraged, scared, or buried in life. I'd like to take this opportunity to tell my family that they're six of the reasons why, no matter what, I have a wonderful life, because I don't do it often enough. So here goes.
    Joshua Torassa He is my best friend forever. He is smart, funny, handsome, hardworking, thoughtful, caring, patient, talented...I don't know what I'd do without him. He takes care of me when I'm sick, he works hard to support me, he is so much fun to hang out with, he's interesting to talk to, he is a great cook, and he wants all the same things out of life that I do. Last night, as I was lying next to him, a thought popped into my head: Love means having a warm, golden light fill your whole chest; it's a light that can't be anything but the light that fills Heaven. Since most things I think of right before I go to sleep or right after I wake up sound brilliant at the time, and then are totally stupid later, you can take or leave that thought as you wish. But it's hard to explain the love I feel for my husband, and I just wanted to try. Josh, thank you for giving me a reason to love my life.
    Laura Reid--She is my beautiful mother. She has been a good example to me throughout my whole life by being hard working, willing to serve, reliable, patient, and loyal. I get my love of Jane Austin, Britain, books, and musicals from her. She has taught me the importance of travel, shoes, chocolate, cleaning only when procrastinating, and hard work. She exercises ONLY so that she can eat whatever she wants, and she doesn't care what other people think of her. I want to be more like that some day. I am proud to say that I take after her in three very important categories: 1) Lack of domesticity 2) Love of English, and 3) Being a cat person. Mom, thank you for giving me a reason to love my life. 
    Tim Reid--He is my dorky father. He tries too hard to be cool, is a dirty liberal, and likes to talk more than people like to listen. He is brilliant, caring, ridiculous, and a great friend. He is a lot of fun to talk to, and he helps me through my crazies, because he's crazy himself. He always texts me to tell me he loves me and is proud of me, and I always roll my eyes. He's the most sentimental of us all, and gets crucified for it constantly. But it means a lot to me. He is supportive and encouraging, and he always tells me I'm perfect just the way I am. He also does yoga with me. I likewise take after him in three very important categories  1) Love of BYU, OSU, and 49er football, 2) Being the annoying picture-taker at family functions, and 3) Talking too much. Dad, thank you for giving me a reason to love my life. 
    Jordan Reid--He is my handsome brother. He's pensive, smart, nerdy, funny, and awesome. He is the best to talk to about video games, comic books, music, superheroes, Star Wars, and other TV shows and movies, because his tastes are similar to mine, and he has interesting things to say about them. I love his sense of humor, and I love Pizza Fridays and Taco Bell Thursdays. We got to spend a lot of time together when we were both at BYU, going to the mall, eating Chinese food and Cafe Rio, and going to Harry Potter and Hunger Games premiers, and I miss that a lot. I value his opinion and his friendship, and I think he's smart, talented, and fun to hang out with. Plus, he totally looks like Wolverine.  Jordan, thank you for giving me a reason to love my life. 
    Allison Reid--She is my beautiful sister. She's smart, talented, adventurous, caring, and faithful. I'm jealous of her sexy figure, her European travels, her acting skills, and the fact that she's more social than I am, but in a way where I want to be more like her, not where I am bitter about it. We haven't always gotten along, and I hated sharing a room with her (she always got deaf and/or obstinate whenever we had to clean our room), but that's part of having a sister. I love talking to her about boys and girly movies, and I think it's adorable when she tries to be funny. :) I can always trust her recommendations for books to read, and I'm grateful for her example. I'm sorry for all the times we fought (especially over stupid things, like what should count as an answer for Scatergories), but I know she forgives me. Allison, thank you for giving me a reason to love my life. 
    Pippin--He is my adorable little kitten. He is every thing a cat should be: He is loving and cuddly like a dog, without being slobbery and gross, and he's playful, adorable, curious, and loves food as much as I do. I love spending my days with him, and I'm glad for his company, even though it's hard to write when he's sitting on my laptop, or snuggling up on my lap. He is a well-behaved, smart baby, and I feel like he was meant to join our family. Pipster, thank you for giving me a reason to love my life. 

Monday, January 28, 2013


Since Josh has the day off tomorrow, and since I am going to be moving into our new place all day Thursday, I thought I'd move my blogging days to Monday and Wednesday (and maybe Friday?) for this week.

So, I have finished The First Year. I'm sure it's not completely done at this point, but I am not going to edit it anymore before I start sending it in for publication.

I have a few different options:

1) Find an agent--It's going to be hard to market a collection of short stories, especially as a debut author, by myself.
2) Find some smaller companies that might publish similar things and try to get it published that way (and hope for a giant stroke of luck).
3) Divide up my 12 stories and submit them individually to magazines or writing contests.
4) Wait until after I've published some other stories (and presumably my name has become at least a little recognizable), and then try to sell The First Year. The project I am currently working on is a lot easier to classify, and also market, so it might be a better debut novel for me.
5) I can try and publish (probably in magazines or writing contests) other small things that I've written, just to get my name out there, before I send anything else in.

Writing is just like any other career--you have to have a resume and credentials in order for anyone to pay much attention to you. That's a problem I will have with finding either an agent OR a publisher, since The First Year isn't some sort of Blockbuster hit that will get lucky and get famous right off the bat.

Unfortunately, as with any other career, you can't get published unless you have credentials  and you can't get credentials unless you've been published.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

It's Hard to Be Humble

Mac Davis wrote, "It's hard to be humble, when you're perfect in every way."

Of course, I don't claim to be perfect (at least as far as my writing goes!), but I can't help but think about these song lyrics this morning.

I've been working on The First Year this week and last week, because I want to start sending it in to publishers ASAP. Did I ever tell you how the idea for this novel came about? I was in a writing class at the time, and my husband was working at Shopko. Occasionally, he had to work freight, and he would leave at 4:30 AM. One morning, I panicked, because I had an extremely realistic dream that someone had been watching our apartment, knew I was home alone, and came in to kill me. He dragged me out of bed by my feet, pinned me to the floor, stole our stuff, packed some heat, etc. Obviously, it wasn't real, but I was always terrified when he left me, at least until the sun came up, and this was a particularly bad morning.

Anyway, I wrote a story about it, and I shared it with my mom, who suggested I turn it into an entire collection of short stories about the first year of marriage, since I was in the midst of experiencing it.

But now, back to Mac. I've had people in my writing group read my stories, so I can edit them to near-perfection, and I've been looking at the most recent comments about this story. There was more red all over this one than there was on any other, and I was (am) highly irritated. This was the story I spent the most time on, since it was an assignment that I had to edit within an inch of its life, and I thought it needed the least amount of work.

It's hard to be humble when you feel you've written something that's really close to perfect.

Anyway, I'm going to have to try and swallow the criticism. No story is ever perfect, so maybe if I humble myself, I might be able to make it even better.

But I'm still irritated.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Apartments and Employment

I am applying for a job with the state of Oregon this week. I don't know if I'll get it, but I think I'm very qualified. It's a full-time position, so if I do get the job, I won't have as much time to write.

I am very excited about this position, and I hope it works out for me. It will be sad to not have all day to write, but I am very grateful that I've had the last few months to be able to focus all of my attention on my writing. I will still write, always, but I am glad that I had the opportunity to focus all of my attention on it, even if it was just for a short time.

Again, I don't know what will happen though. I am making great headway on my latest project, and after I send in my application, I will go back to focusing on that.

Also, chances are we will be moving into our own place soon. It's an apartment out in South Salem, and it has two bedrooms, so I'll have a home office for awhile, which will be awesome.

It's crazy how everything seems to be coming together. It's a little scary how quickly things might change, but it will be good.

Yay life!

Friday, January 18, 2013

10 reasons why I love my job:

1. I love creating.
2. I love the feeling of accomplishment.
3. I love the pride that comes when I know I've written something really awesome.
4. I can work in my sweatpants, if I don't feel like getting dressed.
5. I don't have to deal with obnoxious people--I can escape into my own world and ignore this one when I need to.
6. I have a little more flexibility in my schedule
7. It will allow me to be a stay-at-home AND working mom, when the time comes.
8. I can read, and still feel like I'm being productive.
9. I love communicating with people, soul-to-soul.
10. It keeps my imagination alive.

I just wish I knew if it was going to pay off, but at least I love what I do. How many people can say that?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


As a writer, I feel it is my job to write down little truths that are universal to the human condition. The problem is, stories tell the big, the grandiose, the exciting. They rarely focus on the ordinary, or else they wouldn't be stories. They would be anecdotes.

But, while stories tell exciting and unusual happenstances, the characters can still be simple and kind and ordinary, just like any of us. Perhaps the best stories place an Average Joe, just like you and me, in a situation beyond the every day. 

One of my favorite examples of this can be seen in The Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien. It is not the elves, the wizards, or even the mighty warrior men who save Middle Earth in these stories: It is the simple folk, mainly the hobbits, who bring peace back into the world. 

I really like this quote from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and I'd like to share it with you today: 
[Some believe] it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. 
                              --Gandalf the Grey

You may be ordinary, but you can still make a difference. 

This is something I've been thinking about as I develop my characters. I want to create a character that most people can relate to, even if the story itself can't just be filled with anecdotes of "the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk."

For what it's worth, those are my musings for the day.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Joy of Reading

When I started high school, and also through college, I stopped reading for fun. I was assigned so many books to read, and I couldn't relax doing something that was so similar to my homework, that I just didn't do it anymore. 

But, I've since (re-)realized how important reading is, not just as an author, but as a human being. 

As an author, it is important to study the craft of others. Reading books in your own genre helps you keep up to date on what's publishable and trendy, as well as gives you a catalyst for new ideas, and helps you avoid being too similar to what's already out there. It also keeps your imagination alive. 

Your brain needs to be exercised, just like any part of your body, and if you don't use it every day, it gets weak. As a human being, reading is an important way to stretch your cerebral muscles. It also connects you with other worlds, other people, and other circumstances. It gives you an intimate look at what it might be like to be someone else, to be somewhere else. It strengthens your imagination,  your empathy, your charity, and likewise makes you a kinder person.

There is something exhilarating about finishing a book you can't put down. You want more. You think about it often. You're sad to see it end. I hope to one day create books like that for people. I want to help people enjoy the experience of reading. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Fear is the thing most detrimental to the human experience. Now, I'm not just taking about phobias. I'm taking about legitimate, crippling fears that keep us from living life to the fullest.
Fear of failure.
Fear of loss.
Fear of the future.
Fear of what others think of you.
Fear of change.
Fear that someone else's choices will ruin your life, possibly forever.
I myself am guilty of being afraid, of all those things. I am afraid that I will never be able to get my work published. I'm afraid that I'll never be able to finish a novel that isn't a collection of short stories. I'm afraid of what might happen if I were to lose those in my life who are most important to me. I'm afraid that I'll never be able to pay rent, move out of my in-laws house, or be able to pay the cost of living. I'm afraid of not meeting the expectations of others, both physically and with what I make of myself. I'm afraid of how my life might change, but I'm also afraid that it might never change. Sometimes, I'm even afraid that my life will end when I'm at the movies or the mall.
But, I've come to learn that fear is the opposite of faith. If you are afraid, it is because you don't trust yourself. Or God. Or your spouse.Or your family. Or the people (who are ultimately good) around you. Or whoever. When you don't trust someone, you can't have a very good relationship with him/her. Without good relationships, life means nothing.
I may never be a published author. But I shouldn't let that spoil the joy I find in writing in the here and now.
I might lose a husband, or a brother, a parent, or friend someday. But being afraid taints the time I do have to spend with them, no matter how long that time may last.
I might not be the world's ideal. But if I worry about what other people think, it hurts my relationship with myself. I need to be my own ideal, and then give myself a break if I don't quite get there.
If I worry about the future, I will never progress: My fear will prevent me from action, and nothing will ever change.
The more afraid I am of failure, the more likely I am to fail.
Please, don't be afraid. You only have one life, so live it. Be fearless. Have trust that everything will work out in the end. And if it doesn't, at least you were along for the ride.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Writing goals for this year:
  1. Publish The First Year
  2. Finish a draft of The Smarts (working title)
  3. Practice writing every day
  4. Read 12 books (one/month)
  5. Spend more time with people and visiting new places
  6. Figure out how to be the president of my ANWA chapter
  7. Keep blogging, even though I hate it, and no one really cares anyway!
I am looking for (hopefully) part-time employment, but I hope not to lose my focus on my long-term goal: I want to be a writer.

We'll see what happens.