up. up. up.

up. up. up.

One of the people most dear to me in the world told me recently that the defining feature of my character is spiraling introspection. She was dead on. This time of year is particularly introspective for me, which—added to having far too much work on my plate—apparently translates to no blogging. This seems weird to me. Especially considering things like this post, which is really quite introspective…I think. Perhaps it’s the spiraling part that keeps me from writing. At any rate, it’s time to return.

I’ve been thinking about what I want for the coming year. I have a feeling that 2013 is going to be stellar for me (which may or may not have anything to do with Pantone choosing my signature shade as the color of the year), and I want to take advantage of that early by getting clear on what I want.

According to Danielle LaPorte, the best way to get clear on your desires is to know how you want to feel. And today is 12/12/12—a wishing day, as blogger/photographer Susannah Conway reminded me in her post today.

So this is me. Wishing aloud. Getting clear on what I want for my life in 2013.

I wish for creative satiety. Clarity. Amplified love. Resolve. I wish for deepening connection with my women friends. Femininity. Solidity. Sticky yoga practice. Flow. Ease. Confidence with a side of vulnerability. I wish for powerful support, both given and received. I wish to feel whole. I wish for excitement. Adventure. Beautiful energy. I wish for time. Meditation. Easy breath.

I wish for the feeling that I am living the life I have designed for myself.

And I wish you a year of wishes come true.

There Are Many.

Perks of being a wallflower, that is. One being that, as a wallflower, you may more easily stumble upon a book that will change everything. A book that will make you feel like you’re not invisible. A book that will make you remember you matter. A book that will help you see that there’s something, somewhere out there for you, and that it’s worth the wait to find it. For me, that book was The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

I first came across this book about ten years ago. I was fresh(ish) out of college, and I had a mind-bendingly awful crush on an older musician. I obsessed (read: borderline stalked) him for the better part of a year (longer? probably longer). I let him lead me on, and he let me drool over him from a booth at the back of the biker bar where he and his brother presided over open mic night. I got exactly one thing of worth out of this arrangement: he recommended Perks. I bought and read it immediately because he said to. But by page two, I was reading it because I wanted to. For me.

I read it in one sitting while my then two-year-old niece slept. I was living with her and my sister in their little trailer in the country. I know that we were all three miserable, but I remember being happy. I remember waking my niece in the middle of the night to show her a lunar eclipse and listening to her whisper “moon” in her half-sleep. I remember hearing in the thin blue morning air her tiny feet pat-pat-pattering across the trailer to snuggle me. She split every night between her mother and me, curling up against our chests, making sure the love she had to give was spread out evenly and thick. She made our home happy.

Since that night in the trailer, I’ve read Perks so many times I’ve lost count. The second time I started reading it was the moment I stopped crying after the first time I read it. I was twenty-two (twenty-three?), and a book about teenagers shouldn’t have affected me so much. Except it did. And it made me realize that when they are good, characters and stories affect you because they are beautiful and tragic and amazing and everything that you are. It doesn’t matter whether you relate on paper. (I also have seemingly nothing in common with Scout Finch and Janie Crawford, but no one questions when you’re affected by those books.)

Reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower—that first time, and every time since—solidified this idea I have that I am meant to write books for kids. Kids like Charlie, kids like me. Kids who need to know that their lives will not always look they way they do from the vantage point of their lonely seats in the high school cafeteria. Kids like my niece.

She’s twelve now. And though she might be a tad young for it yet, she will be getting a copy for Christmas. It will be inscribed, S — I’ve been lucky enough to have met more than a few Sams and Patricks in my life. You’re one of them. I love you.


I meant for this post to be about the movie, which was wonderful. I’ve seen it twice and am seriously considering going once more before it finishes its theater run. It is imperfect, but beautifully so, and the feeling of the book carries over better than in any other adaptation I have ever seen. Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller are brilliantly cast. See it.

But first, buy the book. Read the book. Read it again. Read it once more. Pass it around. Buy another copy. Repeat.

What Am I Doing?

If a few weeks ago I felt I was doing my best to keep up with a stampede, then in the weeks that have followed, I’ve felt like I was…just…stampedED, I guess. It was a wild-rumpus start to fall, and then I got a lovely break to celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary and my thirty-second birthday. Ten glorious, unplugged days spent camping, hiking, reading, sleeping, and seeing great movies*.

I missed blogging. But I also didn’t have much to say. And I decided, probably because of the unplugging, that I would refuse to feel guilty about not blogging. I needed the space, the time, the quiet. I needed it more than you needed a post about nothing in particular. So I took it.**

By taking a break, I was able to step back and think a little (really, only a little) about what I want from and for this blog. When I first dreamed up Aviatrix, I wanted to create an online space for teen girls. I wanted to offer insight, information, and tools that they could keep in their arsenals for years to come. I wanted to create a space where thinking girls felt safe, nurtured, and part of a community.

And just before I wanted to launch, I found something. Something so wonderful. I found Rookie. It is nearly exactly what I wanted to create. But, better yet, it’s helmed by a sixteen-year-old. It made my idea for Aviatrix completely unnecessary. This sounds as though I am bitter. I am not. I am so very glad that I am not the first person to see this need and want to fill it. My hat goes off to the Rookie team. Brava, ladies!

But, even though the things I wanted to say are being said, I still feel a need to speak. To share. To offer something that’s not already out there. I’m still figuring out exactly what that is, but I do know this:

  1. I want to tell the truth. The real truth.
  2. The truth is, I have a million questions.
  3. The truth is, I don’t have a million answers.
  4. The truth is, I know I’m not the only one.
  5. The truth is, I’m tired of reading “10 Ways To Fix This Specific Problem You Have” lists that do nothing to fix said specific problem because none of us fit into boxes made by lists. (And yet, here I am writing lists.)
  6. The truth is, I want to be part of a community of people who don’t feel the need to curate their lives for public consumption. Most of our lives are not picturesque. Mine certainly isn’t, and I refuse to show it as such.
  7. The truth is, I am fantastically imperfect and I do not intend to change that. But if I go back on these core values, you are within your rights to call me on it. I promise to love you for it.

Dear readers, whoever and wherever you are, let’s start something new. Let’s be ourselves. Let’s see what happens, okay?

*The greatest among them The Perks of Being a Wallflower. More on that later.
**More on this later, too, perhaps.

It’s Friday. Again.

Do you ever get the feeling that you’re in a stampede, and all you can do is run in the same direction as fast as you can to keep from getting trampled? That’s what this week was like.

In all the running, “Five Seconds” by Twin Shadow kept me upbeat and energetic. Well done, sir. Thanks for keeping me going!

Wishing you some danceable moments this weekend.

It’s Friday

We wait, not knowing
just where it will happen; suddenly
they smash through the surface, someone begins
shouting for joy and you realize
it is yourself as they surge
upward and you see for the first time
how huge they are, as they breach,
and dive, and breach again
through the shining blue flowers
of the split water and you see them
for some unbelievable
part of a moment against the sky—
like nothing you’ve ever imagined—

From “Humpbacks” by Mary Oliver

I had posted the whole of this poem, but immediately felt guilty about posting someone else’s artistic work in its entirety. So instead, I invite you to find this poem and read it. Then read it again. Then read it once more for good measure.

Dear readers, I hope you see something wonderful smash through the surface this weekend.

Living in Plan B

A scene from my someday-home, through the rain on my right-now car window.

After ditching plans to become a pediatrician, a marine biologist, a rock star, and a librarian, I decided at around the age of twelve that when I grew up I wanted to be a writer. I would use the millions I made writing stories to buy a big white house in the country somewhere. Or I’d buy a cavernous industrial loft in New York City. Better yet, I’d buy both and and on any given day jet off to one or the other, depending on my mood. I’d be rich, famous, and happy.

Sometime between then and now (and I’m still not sure when exactly), I decided that this was unrealistic. Someone, somewhere told me that the only writers who made any money were Danielle Steel and Stephen King. I didn’t want to write like Danielle Steel or Stephen King. I still wanted to be a writer, but I thought I had better come up with a more practical plan until the country house and city loft came along.

I decided that I needed a Plan B in order to make Plan A work.

And so I marched off to college with plans to become an editor. I would maybe double-major in English and Business so that I could one day own my own publishing company. This could work, I thought. Make the money to buy the house/loft, and then write later.

There are two big problems with any given Plan B. One: you might actually end up living it. And two: once you’re moved on to Plan B, it is that much easier to give in to Plan C, D, and E.

I make my living as a copy editor. I do not acquire books for publication. I’ve never had the opportunity to take a chance on a new writer and change her life by sending her a contract for a multi-book deal. I don’t own a house. Or a loft.

I have not had a novel published. I have not written a novel.

What I didn’t realize when I began to lean toward Plan B (indeed, it is entirely possible that I am just realizing it now, as I write) is that Plan B was about the house and the loft. It was never about the writing. The only thing I ever needed — will ever need — to be a writer is pencil and paper.

But I got caught in that rut. You know the one. It’s the one where you opt for the thing that makes the most sense right now so that you can have the money to do this, this, and that thing that you’re supposed to do, and then once you’ve done those things you can move on to this thing that you’ve always wanted to do. That rut that everyone warned you about but no one told you how to avoid.

That rut is an interstate highway with no exits.

And I’m starting to get the feeling that the only way off is to say to hell with the exits and just drive off the road. Drive through the wild open. Make your own path.


How does one do that?

Perhaps it has something to do with believing that the woman I am today is the same person as the woman I want to be in the future (an idea called future-self continuity, per Justine Musk’s recent post). Or perhaps it simply has everything to do with pushing past the fear of living an unprescribed life, sloughing off judgment like so many ashes at a bonfire, and trusting myself to find my own way.

I’ll let you know.

Weekends Collected

weekendHappy September! And Happy Weekend!

Grab some coffee and toast and meet me over at Weekends Collected today.

It is a gorgeous site, and every piece is as lovely as the next. Peruse at your leisure. And then contribute a piece of your own!

Weekends are my refuge. It’s when I find the most calm, the most respite from the week’s anxiety. So I’m off to enjoy this long weekend. See you on Tuesday. 

I hope you find calm joy in your weekend!

It’s Friday.

This is a favorite thing of mine these days. It is a magic song that, after downloading it and playing it nearly to death, never fails to put me in a great mood. Happy weekend!

My Mind Is a Jungle

Often and often afterwards, the beloved Aunt would ask me why I had never told anyone how I was being treated. Children tell little more than animals, for what comes to them they accept as eternally established. –Rudyard Kipling

With all due respect to Mr. Kipling (and there is very much due), I don’t believe this phenomenon is exclusive to children. I am forty days from my thirty-second birthday, and I still have trouble speaking up. I assume that what I have interpreted as somehow wrong or faulty or misguided is in fact fine. It must be fine; otherwise, why would it have happened? I assume that I am the one who is wrong, faulty, misguided. I assume that I have misread the situation. That my thinking is clouded. That I’m just simply weird.

This bad thought pattern goes the other way and muddies the good stuff, too. When I have an idea, I think there’s no way I’m the first to imagine it. I am not the only one who thinks this way. This idea isn’t new. Everyone already knows this. This is not unique. I am not offering anything a million people haven’t already said. And I’m probably not saying it well, anyway. Best not bother.

It is a dark, dark tunnel.

And it has taken me until just recently to even start to find my way through.

As a writer who struggles with strong and consistent writer’s block,* I am always on the lookout for anything that will help me write. Just write. Get the words out and down on the page. What I find again and again is that it all boils down to faith and self-esteem. Believe in myself, believe in what I have to say. And that it applies to my whole life, not just my writer life.

Tara Mohr taught me that the voice that tells me “Best not bother” is my inner critic. Per her advice, I’ve named my inner critic. His name is Karl. He is old, portly, and bald, and he thinks he is The Shit. But he’s ridiculous. When he chimes in with “Everyone already knows this,” I try to say “Okay, Karl. Thanks. I’m going to say it anyway.” Sometimes it works. It worked today. I’m writing this post. (And I’m certainly not the first to write on this subject. Look at how many links I’ve already given you, and I didn’t even look very hard for examples.)

The School of Life reminded me recently that there’s nothing wrong with saying again what’s already been said. A recent blog post, In Praise of Copying, reminded me that very few stories (or ideas) are new. What makes stories and ideas great is point of view. If you’ve never said it before, then it’s never been said in your way before. By this virtue alone, it’s new. If you don’t speak up, whatever it is you were going to say will never be said the way you’d say it. And someone, somewhere, will never get the opportunity to see something old in a new way. And that is a true loss.

Nothing is eternally established. Your first thought is a good thought, no matter what it’s about – a creative spark, a reaction against something you think is wrong, an idea for a different way to do things. Go back to it. Listen to the tiny voice behind the inner critic that says, “Wait, wait…I think you’re on to something.” She is awesome and smart and probably right. And so are you.

* You can say writer’s block doesn’t exist if you want to. It probably doesn’t. And yet, I’ve been trying to write the same novel since I was fifteen. Whatever it is, it’s here.


Welcome to Aviatrix.

To be honest with you, I’m not yet certain what this space will be. But I do know this:

  1. There is no prescribed universal path. Your path is not my path. One size does not fit all.
  2. You can choose a destination, but there are so many things to see between here and there. Maybe even a scenic route…or a shortcut.
  3. When it comes down to it, we’re all winging it.

Today, then, my goal is for this blog to be a place where you can come to be at peace with the search. To find acceptance in the unknown. To learn ways to navigate the uncharted territory.

I chose the name Aviatrix because I want a reminder that I am the pilot of my own life, as you are. That there are tools and tricks — dashboards and mechanics — to help us along the way, but the paths to get there are ours for the choosing. The sky, as they say, is the limit.