Finding your story

One of the most exciting and thrilling parts of writing is when you have the pieces of a good story in your head, you have the characters, but you just don’t have the complete story scene by scene. Then suddenly out of nowhere…it hits you. When I write, I always have a general sense of what my story is about, and especially what the characters are like, but I never seem to be able to make an outline. The beginning and ending comes to me with ease. Certain scenes of importance come easily, but the entire picture? Nope.

I detest outlines, and yet they’re pretty essential. I wrote stories back to back as a child. Then as an adult I began screenwriting (and definitely outlined my film then). Now I’m novel writing, but I just can’t make myself outline. I’ve been writing as it comes to me but have had to face the fear of, what if my story gets lost in the middle? What if it doesn’t just come together like I’m imagining it will? The other day, with film scores playing through my iPod, I took the time to just focus on the whole picture. I decided to do the thing I needed so desperately to do, but always shy away from. I began to loosely outline this story I had begun, this story that has been a big part of my daydreaming, and it all just came spilling out. I couldn’t stop myself from writing down the entire story. Scene by scene came pouring as if it had sat inside, trapped, just waiting for me to finally acknowledge it. And I’ve felt so happy and pleased with myself whenever I think about it. I feel like I’ve accomplished something, even if it’s a simple outline, it’s the story I’m going to write.

Have any other writers had success with just freely writing out your story without a structure? Or do you also find outlining a necessity?

Lazy Sundays

I’ve found myself loving Sundays more than ever because it seems like it’s the only day of the week where you can just relax and not do anything. No work (if you’re a Monday-Friday kind of person), no social events, just doing what you want to do, even if that means doing nothing. Well, not all my Sundays are so laid back, but recently I like to use them as a time to work on a writing project, watch my favorite TV shows that seem to always come on that night, and something else that just involves staying home. That something else today included one of my favorite things to do: cook food. And more importantly…eat it!

Below I grilled some salmon steaks and made this new recipe I found while reading through my cooking apps (am I the only one who can spend so much time just searching food online?) The pasta dish tasted amazing so I was thrilled to have found it.

photo (21)And then I made this butterscotch bread pudding- which doesn’t look too great, I know, but it’s bread pudding so I’m not sure how pretty it’s supposed to be. But it tasted delicious and that’s what counts, right?

photo (20)

 

Anyway, if anyone is looking for two super simple recipes that taste amazing, look no furthur:

Pasta Kale Toss

1 (8 oz) package uncooked bow tie pasta (you can use other kinds if you prefer)

1 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 pinch ground cayenne pepper

1 pinch dried basil

8 oz feta cheese, crumbled

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups roughly chopped kale

salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to boil, add pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes then drain. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in peppers, kale, and garlic. Season with cayenne pepper, basil, salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender. In a large bowl, toss cooked pasta with skillet mixture and then add feta cheese. And just like that you’re done!

*You may want to add more kale as it tends to shrink a bit. Also, I’m not a big fan of kale’s raw taste, but cooked it tasted great. As you may be able to tell I was lacking a yellow bell pepper, so I only made mine with red. I also added more cayenne pepper and basil. I don’t think I’ve ever followed the “just a pinch” of this and that when it comes to recipes.

Butterscotch Bread Pudding

1 loaf of day-old bread torn into small pieces

1/2 cup of butter, melted

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 cups milk

2 cups brown sugar

3 eggs, beaten

1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a 9×13 inch baking dish. In a large bowl combine the bread, milk, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, and butterscotch chips. Stir and let the moisture soak in. It should look similar to oatmeal. Pour into prepared pan. Bake in preheated over for 1 hour (I found mine needed an extra 20 minutes). It should jiggle slightly when you shake the pan back and forth. Serve it warm or cold.

*I don’t use butter, (I’ve always hated the taste and smell) so I substitute it in baking and cooking with olive oil in which case it would be 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons olive oil. I also added cinnamon because, why not?

 

 

 

Liebster Award (Is it really already August?)

liebsterblogaward

 

The very lovely, happilydpressed, nominated me for a Liebster Award a few weeks ago and since I’ve been slacking a little recently, I’m just now answering the questions. Before I do, I’d like to say how grateful I am to be nominated by this talented blogger, because when you read her blog, you’ll find someone who is open, honest, and really just putting her emotions and thoughts out there. So, let me jump right into her questions.

1. Why did you join WordPress?

I’ve never written a blog before (aside from contributing to a film one for my job) but I love writing and thought I’d give it a shot. I recently started receiving therapy for depression and my bipolar mood swings and felt like among other things, I’d share my experience and also connect with others.

2. Name or describe one person in life that inspires you most.

It’s hard for me to think of just one person that inspires me. My grandmother is such an inspiration because of everything she went through (two world wars, the Great Depression, cancer) and yet lived to be 100 with a sound mind, a great sense of humor and loved by many. I am also inspired by people I run across everyday- people that know how to live their life to the fullest and seem so happy and full of love.

3. If you found out you only had a few months to live (I’m so morbid), what would be the first thing you’d do?

Travel, for sure. I find I’m my happiest when I’m out experiencing the world and doing new things. I have this strong desire to visit as many countries as I can, so if I were to find out I’m dying- I’d pack my bags and get to it.

4. What’s your favorite novel?

Gone with the Wind and Wuthering Heights are two of my favorites that I own and have read more than once. They’re such classics and I love their stories. At least those two always pop in my mind, but I love reading, so I could probably bring up a pretty long list if I sat here and reminisced over them all.

5. What’s your favorite hobby? 

Hm, I really don’t have just one but some of them include, writing, traveling, reading, running/yoga, watching movies, growing plants, cooking, just going outdoors and experienced new things/places.

6. Do you believe in love?

I do. Although I’ve never “been in love” with someone, there are many people that I love.

7. (I’m stealing this from Phoenix) Words to live by?

I’ve only recently become a little more spiritual thanks to influences around me, but I’ve always found myself going by the idea that “everything happens for a reason.” At least, when something doesn’t work out, I like to remember those words.

8. If you could go back in time, would you want to change any decision you’ve made? You don’t have to share it if you don’t want to.

Yes, there are quite a few I would like to change, but I have to try and remember that even my mistakes have taught me lessons about life. Although, anytime where I have hurt someone by something I have said or done, I would want to go back and fix that. Those mistakes always haunt me.

9. What’s the most meaningful experience of your life?

You know, I’m not sure I can think of one. I’d like to think this isn’t because my life is pretty bland and I’m lacking meaningful experiences, but more because there are just so many I can’t think of just one. Surely that’s it.

10. Where’s your favorite place to be and why?

Two places pop into my mind. One would be Disney Land because it reminds me of my childhood. The only time I ever went to the theater as a kid was when the latest Disney animated film was coming out. I fell in love with Disney and even though we didn’t go to Disney Land (we lived in Alabama), we went to the big one- Disney World and had a lot of fun as a family. Now that I live in California, I go to the Land to try and bring back some of that long lost childhood magic. Another would be Wakalla Springs in Florida. I haven’t been there in years, but again it was another childhood favorite where I have wonderful memories when I would visit with my family.

***

Okay, so here are a few blogs, that I’ve enjoyed reading recently for various reasons, but especially because they each have something unique and lovely about their writing. Honestly, there are so many blogs I enjoy so I hate the part where I can only pick a few, but these nominations always float around so hopefully I’ll get the chance to pick more again. Feel free to add this nomination to your own blog and answer the questions, or if you’re not into the award nominations…I understand… and I’ll try not to take it personally. ;) If you’ve already been nominated before, that’s okay, it just means you’re so awesome at blogging you get another one!

Cutie Cameras

StephanieJadeWong

Dream Across the World

Dash of Daisy

1. What have you found most enjoyable since you started writing your blog?

2. What is a song that you can really connect with? (One that either inspires you or you always feel drawn to)

3. What is one thing you do that really makes you feel at peace?

4. What are some of your hobbies?

5. What is one act of kindness that was done for you, that you have never forgotten?

6. If you could have an all expenses paid vacation of your choosing to go on in the next few weeks, where would you go?

7. And if you could bring only one person with you, who would you like to spend this experience with?

8. What is something that you love to collect? (It can be now or something you collected in the past)

9. What is something unique or random that you like to do that not many other people do?

10. I’m a genie and I’m granting you 3 wishes, what will they be?

 

Here are the general guidelines for The Liebster Award. I may have taken this from happilydpressed, but I like the way this version was written.

The Liebster Award recognizes new, up and coming bloggers who have a certain number of followers, ranges from 200 to 3,000. Liebster is German meaning “beloved” “sweetest” “dearest”.  Essentially, I like to view this award as acknowledging some of the “sweetest” bloggers who connect their blogs to their viewers in a welcoming and hearty fashion.

If you wish to accept this award, the following guidelines are below. There is no pressure to accept the award. I find your blog genuine and would like you to know that I value your honesty and content.

The steps for The Liebster Award are as follows:

  • Thank the person who nominated you for the award!
  • Add The Liebster Award logo to your post and blog.
  • Answer 10 questions provided to you by the person who nominated you.
  • Provide 10 questions of your own for your nominees to answer.
  • Nominate 5 bloggers for the award and notify them.

**These are the general guidelines. With that being said, you do not have to do the full amount to accept the award. You can answer and/or ask only one question,nominate one person, whatever you feel comfortable doing. **

 

And this too shall pass…

-I always remember my grandmother using this quote when times were tough.

Here I am saying I’m going to write in my blog at least once a week and now it’s been over two weeks since I’ve last been on here. In my defense, I’ve had dreadful internet at work (our new office building is having issues) so that’s been one factor. Another, not so much in my defense, would be that I’ve just been in a slump. I haven’t had the energy or desire to write at all. I can’t even seem to find the drive to work on my creative writing, even though that usually can be an escape for me. I’m just in one of those “I have no idea what I’m doing or where I’m going” state of minds.

My relationship has gone pretty sour. I take a good bit of blame of course, but I can’t help but feel like I’m trying to make things work. But when one person tries and the other doesn’t…it will never be fixed. I’ve never been in love, despite the many relationships I’ve been in, and I’m not sure I actually can. That’s always been a frustration for me because I watch the world fall in love around me, and yet despite the wonderful people I’ve had in my life, I just can’t ever get to that point. I have no idea what it feels like.

As delightful as LA can be, I also find myself tiring of the fast paced empty Hollywood lifestyle that comes with the entertainment business and I’ve had this strong desire to just pack up and leave it all behind. I find myself becoming so drained by the alcoholic infused parties with the shallow minds and banter and games that are continually played. Having to act a certain way and look a certain way, it has a very claustrophobic feel. I get this urge to just runaway somewhere full of big beautiful land where I can have as many animals as I want. I can finally buy that horse I’ve longed for since I was a child and I can grow gardens full of vegetables and swim in the ocean, or gaze at the mountains.

Yeah, so that slump that probably happens in most people’s lives has kind of hit me at the moment. Who I am kidding though? I’m always in a slump. Just call me Ms. Misery. But once I figure out a way to break through- and find what I really want to do and where I want to be in life- I bet it’s a lovely feeling.

 

A Night with The Fab Four

I was able to see The Fab Four at the Starlight Bowl in Burbank Saturday night. If you’ve never heard of them, they’re a band that does a marvelous job of impersonating The Beatles. They were starting their tour, so I was super excited to catch a show. I’m a huge fan of The Beatles (it’s hard not to love their songs) and watching The Fab Four is, of course, the closest I’ll ever come to seeing them perform live. I can only imagine how remarkable that must have been to witness the real thing, because seeing this talented impersonating group was pretty amazing in itself.

photo (19)

My mom was a huge fan, so as a very small child I was most familiar with Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band.  At least, those were the albums I can clearly remember playing at our house. (And Maxwell’s Silver Hammer was my favorite song to listen to. Nothing like a small child loving to hear about people being bashed in the head.) I guess their music opened my eyes to death since hearing from her about John Lennon’s murder was the first time I ever even heard of murder. I still remember being so dumbfounded that someone could just kill another person like that and it scared me to look at his picture walking along the crossroad on Abbey Road.

Despite my morbid introduction to The Beatles, I now think of love whenever I hear their songs. (Except, of course, Maxwell and his silver hammer. Still not feeling love from that one.) What a beautiful, talented band, that was able to inspire so many people to dance happily and sing along Saturday night and continue to live on through those that adore them.