Tag Archives: amwriting

April A-Z: Apples, A Definitive Ranking

I found out, a few days late, about this April blogging challenge called the A to Z challenge, where you do a blog post every day about whatever as long as you do it alphabetically by topic or title (thanks to TheLonelyTribalist for sharing the idea). So now I am doing it to up my spontaneous blogging skillz game, HA, and you have to read all these posts now, HAHAHAHA. So basically everyone wins. Or…loses.

As this is Day 1, we are dealing with the letter A. I therefore present a DEFINITIVE and IMMUTABLE ranking of APPLES for your perusal. You may certainly add your opinion of my list in the comments, but remember that whatever your differing opinion may be, you are WRONG and I am RIGHT because this is the INTERNET and that’s how it works.

Apples, Ranked

10. Crabapples: What the fuck are these, even? As a kid, adults would point out crabapples to me and be like, “That is a crabapple tree. I know I just said ‘apple,’ so you will try to eat them, but don’t because they are super bad for you and you will die.” I, of course, was like, “Well, if they are bad WHY DID YOU NAME IT A CRAB-APPLE tree when apples are delicious?” I never ate one, and now it turns out that they are NOT generally poisonous, but do taste gross and sour, so the takeaway here is adults are the worst and I knew it!

9. Fuji apples: I had one to eat once because I thought it was a Macintosh apple and it was waaaaay too sweet. Also it is from Japan, and when I think of Japan I get mad because I was supposed to go once for a work trip but it was canceled due to giant, tragic earthquakes. Fuck you, Fuji apples.

8. Apple muffins: A terrible idea. Almost every other fruit is better in a muffin than apples. I’d rather just eat a plain muffin, or an apple, but not an apple muffin with weird apple chunks in it. I’m not a monster.

7. Apple the Tech Company: Cons: giant evil corporation whose overpriced. products are manufactured by poor, suicidal workers in Asia. Pros: I love my MacBook Air and am a hypocrite, so…yeah.

6. Apple crisp: Apple crisp is just lazy apple pie. If you’re going to make an apple pie, don’t half-ass that shit and just dump some ice cream on it, GO ALL THE WAY AND MAKE A CRUST, or just buy one or something. Also, it has the word “crisp” in it and “crisp” is the second-worst word in the English language, right behind “moist.”

5. Apple Vacations Travel Agency: Got my family a good deal on a trip to Tulum, Mexico about five years ago. We were upgraded, too, because there was a Swine Flu outbreak and everyone else canceled. The resort was empty and the bartenders LOVED us. That may have been luck but, whatever, I’m giving a major travel agency credit for it.

4. Macintosh apples: Best and most delicious eating apple–suitably tart and sweet at the same time, also available for picking all over my home state of New Hampshire. Much better than that golden delicious crap, which is like apples for weaklings who can’t handle A LITTLE FLAVOR.

3. Apple pie: Unlike stupid muffins and crisps, apple pie is a real gorram apple dessert, with a crust and apples and everything. Also, don’t you dare put any whipped cream on that. That is for pumpkin pie. Get with it.

2. Apple-tini: Has alcohol in it. Is good. Much drunk. Very apple.

1. Apple cider: Clear winner of apple category. Hard or non-alcoholic, you can’t go wrong with a mug of delicious apple cider on a chilly fall day while wrapped in an alpaca sweater in front of your fireplace.

Oh, and an honorary mention goest to:

Starbucks Apple Latte*: A delicious blend of apples, coffee, cinnamon, and joy. A great way to spend six dollars every morning on your way to work. Will soon outpace the PSL as the go-to Fall drink, I guarantee it.

*PS: To my knowledge, there is no such thing as a Starbucks Apple Latte. I bet you thought there was, though. HAHAHA I GOT YOU**.

**PPS: Seriously, though, Starbucks, I want in on that now if you’re gonna do it. I better get a cut of that shit.

 

COME AT ME IN THE COMMENTS SECTION, BROSEFS!

 

Jackie’s Foolproof Process for Furniture Assembly and Losing Your Soul

Occasionally, despite my college education and now 31+ years of experience living as a Human on the Planet Earth, I make a Life Errorso gargantuan that it shakes the very fiber of my being and makes me doubt whether I am worthy of success, happiness, or love.

I order self-assembly furniture online.

I know, I know, but it wasn’t my fault! I am A WRITER, DAMN IT, and writers need desks. I could write while sitting at my kitchen table, but it’s cold in the kitchen. I can also go to a coffee shop, but a coffee is two bucks MINIMUM and it’s much cheaper to just make coffee at home. The obvious solution was a small-ish desk that fits into the bay window nook in my warm-ish bedroom with the cheap homemade coffee only feet away!

So I went on Wayfair and ordered a desk. Five days later, the desk arrived. And thus began my descent to the ninth level of hell, where I joined Brutus, Judas, and…Cassius (is he the third guy? too lazy to google) in being chewed in the giant maw of Satan.

The process began auspiciously when the FedEx guy cheerfully offered to haul the giant desk-containing box up three floors to my apartment. I immediately set out to assemble the desk, whereby I rediscovered Jackie’s Foolproof Process for Furniture Assembly and Losing Your Soul:

  1. Using a knife, cut through the tape along the edges of the box.
  2. Attempt to open box, and discover that there are apparently three more layers of taped-up cardboard between you and the desk.
  3. Hack through these layers while dripping sweat everywhere. Finally remove all the cardboard to discover the furniture is encased in a sarcophagus of styrofoam, which is all stuck together with a kind of tape that is probably used to seal airlocks on the International Space Station.
  4. Hack at the styrofoam, getting bits of it all over your apartment and inhaling a good 20% of it into your lungs.
  5. After 30 minutes of chopping at styrofoam, reveal the desk. Take a water and stretch break and realize that if you can’t open a box without getting breathless that you might want to sign up for the gym.
  6. Using the included mini toolkit, attach the four legs to the desk. Easy peasy! You’re 90% done- the last step is attach the knobs to the two little drawers that are built into the desk.
  7. You go to pull out the drawer. The drawer falls apart in your hand:wp-1452825930873.jpg 
  8. Ok, you can fix it! Get out your hammer and nails to see if you can cobble the drawer back together.
  9. OH MY FUCKING GOD HOW DID I HAMMER THREE FINGERS ON MY RIGHT HAND ALL AT ONCE OH GOD OH GOD IT HURTS AGHHHHH!!
  10. Breathe through the pain, breathe through it. Ok. You’ve got this.
  11. Go down the block to the local hardware store and buy superglue. Return home, glue the drawer back together, let it set for 20 minutes per instructions. Huzzah! It looks great! YOU ARE A GODDESS!
  12. Lightly touch the drawer with one finger to test the strength of the superglue. The drawer explodes.
  13. A single tear escapes your right eye. You remove the drawer and put the desk right-side up. The desk leg lands awkwardly and stubs your right toe.
  14. You burst into tears because ARE YOU KIDDING ME I WENT TO YALE I SHOULD BE ABLE TO PUT TOGETHER A FUCKING BUCK FIFTY DESK AND MY HAND HURTS AND MY FOOT HURTS AND I’M SWEATY AND IT’S RAINING AND THERE’S STYROFOAM ALL OVER MY APARTMENT AND I’VE BREATHED FIVE POUNDS OF IT IN AND NOW I’M GOING TO DIE OF STYROFOAM LUNG CANCER WHY AM I EVEN TRYING TO BE ALIVE IF I’M TOO STUPID TO SCREW TOGETHER A FUCKING WAYFAIR DESK sob sob sob.
  15. Call your mom, who is bewildered but manages to calm you down.
  16. Ashamed at your outburst, you try to go online to request replacement drawers for your desk, only to discover that the new Comcast set-top box that Infinity made you install earlier that day has DESTROYED THE INTERNET and the only network in range is called “We Can Hear You Have Sex” but it’s fucking PASSWORD PROTECTED.
  17. Cry.
  18. Remember that your phone has internet, and use that to request the parts. Ok, they’ll be here in a few days. It’s all good.
  19. Go out to a friend’s open bar birthday party to destress and consume three of these:
    wp-1453430097079.jpg
    Yeah, that’s a shot that gets poured into it in addition to the rum.

     

  20. Go home and vomit up everything you ever ate or drank, but because you’re an IDIOT you throw up in the shower and not the toilet, and so when you wake up at 3 am and go in the bathroom you discover that you have to clean up a hell of a mess. You go back to bed and at 6 am you clean up and hydrate and go to the laundromat when it opens to wash your vomity clothes. Call Comcast, fix the internet, and wait for your replacement drawers as you recover your dignity.
  21. A few days later, the drawers arrive, in perfect condition! You replace them and the desk looks GREAT! HUZZAH! WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS OF THE WOOOOOORRRLD! wp-1453430169027.jpg
  22. Decide to take a walk to celebrate. Pull out your headphones so you can listen to some TUNEZ while you traipse through the park.
  23. FUCK
wp-1453430176319.jpg
Ain’t it always the way?

 

 

Last. Self-assembly. Desk. Ever.

The Power of the Doodle

I had a great weekend.  On Saturday, I worked on NaNoWriMo and followed it up with a fantastic evening complete with Thai food, wine, friends, and Mad Men.  Then, yesterday, a friend visiting from out of town and I took the Caltrain down to South Bay to see our other friend’s (too adorable to exist) new baby.  Finally, last night I started knitting a new sparkly scarf and decided to re-watch a couple of my favorite episodes of Gilmore Girls before conking out for NINE UNINTERRUPTED (HUZZAH!) HOURS OF SLEEP!  It was a fantastic weekend, full of friends and activities and fun and personal time.

It was also the weekend containing one of the worst breakdowns I’ve had in recent memory.

From about 11 to 2 am from Saturday night into Sunday morning, I cried uncontrollably and felt like a horrible, worthless, bad, evil person.  The demon voice in my head was at full volume.  I’m not sure why I lost it so hard.  It’s likely that the equivalent of a whole bottle of wine I drank had something to do with it (note to self–when your brain chemistry is already effed up and making you clinically depressed, do not consume additional substances that are known depressants), but I know it’s also likely the effect of the season and the upcoming holidays.  November and December are two of the best and worst months of the year.  I love Thanksgiving and Christmas in general, but I hate the pressure to enjoy food and drink without gaining weight (ha! hahaha!) and the societal expectation that I have a significant other to share all the festivities with (whether or not I want to be coupled at present).  I love the decorations and lights, but hate the fact that the sun sets IN FREAKING CALIFORNIA at 4:45 pm, which makes me want to vomit endlessly and also live inside a giant onesie until March.  As Dickens said, it is a good and bad epoch at the same time (I think that’s what he said…ish?  I’m paraphrasing.  I haven’t read that one since high school because I have an aversion to stories depicting decapitation).

The point is, I had a really bad night of weeping and dark thoughts.  I wanted to talk to someone, anyone, but it was too late to call friends or family without being exceptionally rude.  So I had what turned out to be a good idea: I went online to my favorite website’s Saturday Night Social open thread, where a wonderful poster gave me the following advice:

If you’re at a loss for something to do tonight, while you’re in this dark place, create something beautiful. A painting, a sketch, or (as a friend of mine who battles self-harm herself does) use markers to draw beautiful designs wherever you’re tempted to harm. Make beauty there.

I read this person’s post and immediately went to my “Crafts” box (yep, I have a crafts box because I AM IN MY THIRTIES AND LIKE TO MAKE HOMEMADE GREETING CARDS SOMETIMES OK?) and dug out my markers and colored pencils, and I drew this:

wpid-wp-1447105687891.jpg

It took about 30 minutes to make, and it’s obviously not, you know, good*.  But in those thirty minutes, I stopped crying.  I also had some fun.  I explored, uh, symmetry (is that a thing you can explore, art people?  You know what, I’m just going to say it is.  Go symmetry!).  Best of all, after finishing my doodle I was able to curl up in my bed and finally fall asleep so I could spend the following day with my friends and one hella cute baby without passing out.

So it was still was a great weekend despite the breakdown–not just because of my great friends and fun activities (and in spite of too much wine), but because I discovered a new tool to dig myself out of a tough spot.  I discovered the Power of the Doodle as yet one more way for me to manage my often unruly brain.  All Hail the Doodle!

Have a great rest of the week, and stay strong through those early sunsets 🙂

*So, art people, if you actually do think this is good in some sort of avant-garde way please let me know so I can sell it for one million american dollars.  That’s how art works, right?  RIGHT? 

On Writing II: The 15 Stages of Choosing a Book Title

All writers know the extreme pressure of having to choose a book title.  No matter how epic your sci fi fantasy semi-autobiographical post-apocalyptic vampire romance novel may be, if you don’t name it something somewhat catchy, ain’t NOBODY gonna read it.

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 7.59.41 AM
Actual title and pseudonym I may have considered at some point

The issue is, choosing a good title is like going to buy a pair of jeans: you think it will be easy and only take thirty minutes, but instead you end up sobbing and berating yourself after hours of fruitless effort.

Don’t believe me?  Well then, I present to you the 15 VERY REAL stages of choosing a book title:

Stage 1:  Finish writing your book and editing your manuscript.  Write down the first title that comes to mind – it’s perfect, and cute, and catchy, and everyone will like it! Now on to the query letter…

Stage 2: As you’re about to send out your polished query letter, decide to Google your chosen title just to make sure no one else (or very few others) have used it before.  You’re sure that all will be well because you’re so clever and original and definitely the only person who’s ever thought of this adorable turn of phrase, but better safe than sorry!

Stage 3: FOUR MILLION OTHER BOOKS HAVE THIS TITLE OMFG ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME.

Stage 4: Cry.

Stage 5: Spend hours scribbling possible titles on scraps of paper, hate all of them.

Ughhhh
Ughhhh

Stage 6: Find a title you don’t completely hate and yell “MWAHAHAHAH TITLE GODS I DEFY YOU!” while shaking your fist in the air.

Stage 7: Send out queries with new title, get agent*.  Agent reads MS and is like, “Overall pretty good; change these things, and also the title sucks.”

Stage 8: Cry.

Stage 9: Procrastinate trying to find a new title by meticulously addressing all of agent’s edits.

Stage 10: Procrastinate trying to find a new title by knitting.

Stage 11: Procrastinate trying to find a new title by cleaning out your closet.

Stage 12: Procrastinate trying to find a new title by drinking.

Stage 13: After fortifying yourself with alcohol, go back to your scribbles, scribble more title ideas. Cry.

Stage 14: After like 12 back and forth emails with agent, finally choose a new title.  Agent submits MS to editors.

Stage 15: Wait and resign yourself to the likelihood that if your book is sold that the publisher will immediately want you to change the title.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

AND SO THE WAITING HAS BEGUN.  MAY THE FORCE BE WITH ALL MY WRITER PEEPS OUT THERE!

*Of course, getting an agent takes a while, but that’s an entirely different post.  My agent is Sharon and she is great and despite the snark in this post I am very grateful that she told me to think up new titles because my original ones did, indeed, suck. ❤  

Writing Update – I Am This Dog

So anyone who has been reading my blog is aware that earlier this year I wrote a book.  It’s a memoir about my time as a chicken farmer in Kansas.  Ok, so that’s a lie, but it is an actual novel, with words and sentences and characters and stuff, and after writing it I was like, “Huh, I think this is ok.  I will try to get it published!”

Then I went online to learn about publishing, and cried because all the articles said, “Oh, you want to get published?  Never going to happen – HAHAHA #BYEFELICIA!”  And then I was like, well, screw this, I’m gonna try to get a literary agent anyways because I HAVE DREAMS.

I started querying (if you don’t know what that is, thank your lucky stars and move on with your life) and I was this dog:

I was this dog but less adorable.
I was this dog but less adorable.  And I didn’t wear a tie.

Publishing is a crazy business, and the more I queried and the more I read about queries online, the more I needed wine and a nap.  Then, something miraculous happened – I was referred to a couple of wonderful agencies, and they read my book and wanted to represent me!  When I was given this information, I was this guy:

canttellifserious

It turns out they were serious, and I said, “Are you aware that I’m a dog who has no idea what she’s doing?”  I actually only said that in my brain; outwardly, I pretended like I was confident and also that I am a professional human non-canine who knows things.  It was only 20% totally awkward.

Then I had to decide, and I was like, THIS IS AN EMBARRASSMENT OF RICHES (FYI: it took me four tries typing “embarrassment” before I got it right; thanks, spellcheck.  Yep, I’m a writer.).  And then I decided, and now I have an agent, and she is wonderful!  I’ve signed with Sharon Pelletier of DGLM, and she’s fantastic and funny and gets my book, but now I’m worried she’s going to see this blog and ask, why did I sign on to represent a dog who has no idea what she’s doing and also lacks opposable thumbs?

I don’t know, Sharon, but you’re stuck with me now.  Sorry!

So that’s my writing update.  As you might be able to tell, I’m pretty psyched.  I’m also scared, because I’m a dog who has no idea what she’s doing.  But honestly, aren’t we all that dog at some point in our lives?  I think that’s the moral of this blog post, and maybe the Bible, too.  Peace!

P.S. A completely unrelated shoutout – Happy 30th Birthday to my girl T of Tears. Sweat. Sea.  WE ARE GOING OUT TONIGHT!  I know I’m a dog, but I can still drink wine, I promise.