New Schedule

I have been working strange and varied hours lately, which has made blogging a bit of a challenge. I have decided my new post days will be Sundays. I know it is less often than I was posting before (not counting the missed weeks of posts since I arrived in Chicago) but it is a schedule I may have an easier time adhering to.

As far as Chicago goes, I am settling in. I have learned which trains to take, which areas to avoid, and where the best shopping is. I am earning a regular paycheck-something I have not had in several years- and am enjoying life in the city.

I have had adventures that I would not have had back home, such as apple picking, shopping in the loop,

Seeing random, beautiful sights while wandering the city, and of course a brand new experience for this SoCal native: living in the snow.

The first snow was quite an experience for me. It is so beautiful, and I seem a bit touched in the head when it falls, because I can’t resist stomping through it to leave my footprints, all the while giggling uncontrollably. My roommate is also from Cali, and so we share this ridiculous and childish desire to play in the stuff. His boyfriend thinks we are very strange, and tells us so, which leads to the inevitable snow fight. I say “snow” and not “snowball”, because we just scoop up handfuls and fling it at one another. We end up wet and freezing, but somehow it still makes me happy.

I thought Christmas would be a sad day for me, but my mother, in her infinite motherly wisdom, knew I would have a rough time my first Christmas alone and sent me a box of Christmas cheer. She sent a miniature tree, a strand of lights, and some stockings along with a box of presents. It warmed my heart and made me feel so very loved, even from so far away.

Though I worked on Christmas day, I put a pot roast in the slow cooker, and had a wonderful Christmas dinner with my roommate and his boyfriend. It was the first time that Chicago felt like home.

Now, as the snow sticks to the ground, and I finally have a day off, I am catching myself daydreaming about Jeremy, Fairies, and what is in store for Sidhee.

Like any storm that catches us unaware, my writing block is passing, and I find myself ready to open the shutters, pick up the pieces, and rekindle my literary efforts.

Happy writing.

apples
Apple Picking in the orchard
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Inside the Macy’s that used to be Marshall Fields. Quite a bone of contention between Macy’s and Chicago natives. Still, it is beautiful.
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A dramatized image of my first snow day. I took this with my cell phone on the corner of my street at the bus stop.
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The Gluten, corn, and soy free Christmas dinner I made for my Chicago family.
my buidling
The view of my building from the street. I never though I would live somewhere so tall.
my view
Just across the street from my apartment is a walking path that leads here. It is one of the best views of the city I have seen so far.
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Adieu

Goodbye house where I first learned to talk,

And begged, “Read it one more time, Dad!”

Goodbye school where I learned to read clocks,

And grew every year, just a tad.

 

Oh classic theater, I bid thee farewell!

There inside I watched my first toon.

Heartbreaking fire left you a shell;

Restorations came none too soon.

 

Farewell to summer burning my skin

And freckling up my pale face;

I went to work and held up my chin

While my friends all got on my case.

 

Goodbye to the books that filled a store

In the job I held in regard.

Hard casualties of an e-reader war

My love for you never once marred.

 

So long diner where I met with friends

For talking, or crying, or beers.

Over finding true loves, or true lover’s ends

You stood without judgement for years.

 

So long kind critics of written intent

Who taught me for who or for whom.

Your tore me apart, not without consent,

But to see my talent seeds bloom.

 

This town, the place I learned to mature,

Has left it’s strong mark on my past.

But now I am ready, able, and sure

To embark on my journey at last.

 

I’m venturing out, moving along.

I can’t take it all, more’s the pity.

I hope to succeed, hope I’m not wrong

For heading to a big Windy City*.

 

*While this poem auto-posted, I boarded a plane to Chicago with a one-way ticket in hand. I am attempting to make it in the big city. Should I find a job before my savings runs out, I will become a resident of Illinois. Should I run out of money, I will return to California knowing I gave it my best shot. There may be a few interruptions in my blog posts, but for the most part, I will continue to write as usual; I am after all,  a writer first, a human second. That being said, expect pictures.

 

The Attic of Evelyn Pearl

Tiny young Evy,

A six-year-old girl

Was named for her granny

Miss Evelyn Pearl.

 

She hasn’t young cousins

Her own age for play.

No brothers or sisters

To fill up her day.

 

When her family visits

Her grandmother’s home

She goes to the attic

Where she plays alone.

 

She’s never caught bored

When she goes up there

‘cause mystical wonder

Hangs loose in the air.

 

A porcelain doll

Becomes her best friend.

She tells her big secrets

For hours on end.

 

On her Grampy’s old flute

She’ll blow out a tune

And fancy’s they hear her

Out there on the moon.

 

Old buttons and beads

Become long lost treasure

That salty sea captains

Can count at their leisure.

 

A toppled old shelf

And a discarded oar

Becomes ship and rudder

That washed up ashore.

 

With musty old curtains

She fashions a tail

And waves are comprised

Of granny’s old veil.

 

Old teddy bear people

Are folk of the sea.

They go on adventures

‘Till afternoon tea.

 

When the moon starts to rise

And it’s time to head out

Tiny young Evy

Won’t grumble or pout.

 

Her exotic vast kingdom

Will wait for our girl.

‘Till then it’s the attic

Of Evelyn Pearl.

 

Room 405

If you are looking through the course catalog of your local college, you will find your typical classes offered; English 101, Algebra, Pottery, Nutrition, that sort of thing.  But if you flip to the back of the catalog, under the miscellaneous heading that most people don’t read, you will find a class not offered by most colleges. This class is Curseology 101, taught by Miss Badalla.

When you enter the classroom it looks like any other. Rows of tables and chairs to the left and right of a center walkway. The front of the class has a green chalkboards and a podium, where Miss Badalla scatters her various notes and articles to reference in her lectures.  She runs the class much like any other teacher; there are vocabulary lists and chapters of assigned reading from the Curseology 101 textbook. But that is where the similarities to everyday learning stop.

Miss Badalla teaches her students about curses. How to use them, what they are, and how to defend from others cursing you. She peeks out from a halo of frizzy salt and pepper hair, tied back by a scarf embroidered with silver suns and moons. Her hands are laden with numerous rings, all interesting stones like turquoise and Jasper. She wears charms around her wrists, ankles, and neck, each one with a special defensive purpose she teaches about in her advanced class, Amulet Crafting. She wears brightly colored wispy fabrics, and a gray shawl that looks as though it has been dragged down the street by a trash truck, and then hung to dry. Her brown sandals have been patched and mended, and are the only pair of shoes she ever wears. She calls out her lessons in a sing-song voice, wafting the spicy aroma of incense as she passes between each desk. She answers criticism and doubt with the certainty of someone who has seen the effects of the curses she explains.

Curseology will not likely help you achieve your major. Indeed, nobody is even sure if there is credit for taking Miss Badalla’s class. But the experience is well worth the price of one semester of your time.

 

My Children’s Book

 

So I have just completed a children’s story that I intend to self-publish. It began as a rather long, fun poem, but with encouragement from my writers group it evolved into a full story. I’m nearly done with the editing (as much as a writer ever can be anyway) and my next step it the artwork to go along with my story.

But the writing is only half of a children’s book. Kids love pictures that tell the story, so I needed to figure out what kind of illustration I wanted.  Upon some further research I found that you can hire an artist and pay them per illustration- the going rate seems to be about $100 to $200 per drawing online, or you can team up with an artist and split credit (and profit) from the book down the middle. I do know a few artists that would be amazing at it, but since graphic art is something I like to do (and have done professionally before), I decided I am going to do the artwork myself. I plan to make little figurines out of Sculpey and Fimo clay and pose them in scenes to take pictures, then turn them into something that looks illustrated in Photoshop. I will be sure to share more with you as my illustration adventure develops.

My father-in-law has a friend who has published a children’s story, so when I told him I wanted to publish he helped me get in touch with his writer friend. His friend told me that publishers want you to have everything done and mapped out before you even contact them, so I will be finishing my artwork before I take any efforts to publish further. The advice that he gave as far as marketing and publishing boiled down to this: Do as much of it yourself as possible. The publishers will be happy to do it for you, but their help requires lots of money. He also said they are impatient; any edits and adjustments are expected the same day they ask for them, and they get irritated if you delay. They also don’t really proof anything-if your work isn’t perfect when you hand it to them, then that is what will go into print.

With all this in mind, I am very nervous about my first independent self-published work. Even so, I am not deterred.