Thursday, January 29, 2009

I've thought long and hard about this and I'm just going to say it. I think Snuggies might have their benefits.
For those of you who don't know, a Snuggie is...essentially...a backwards robe that extends like a blanket. For those of you who know what a snuggie is, I bet I know what you're all thinking. You're thinking about that ridiculous infomercial. Particularly the scene at the baseball game in which normal society, as we know it, is sitting on the bleachers and they're a little cold. On cue, enter the fast-growing snuggie-wearing society, all cozy in their snuggies eating hotdogs. They look completely asinine. But they are not cold. Not cold at all.

No. They've got snuggies.

And I've been there with you. I've watched that same infomercial and pointed out its ridiculousness. Most of these bizarre contraptions are a shocking primary color or a gaudy fluorescent pink and there seems no logical explanation for using a snuggie over a heavy sweater, a robe or a blanket. But I'm here to admit that I was wrong. Dead wrong.

Because when your heat goes out (as mine did recently) and it's essentially negative degree temperature in your apartment (as mine was recently) and all the sweaters and blankets in the world just don't work and you're shivering on your couch and you need to go into the other room to make dinner to add some extra fat just to keep you warm , it's not so easy to strip that blanket off and do it. I wish I could have stayed wrapped up in that the the my desk. And I couldn't without some seriously annoying maneuvering.

People...the unthinkable happened, I needed a snuggie.

So the next time I see that infomercial and I see those people in snuggies, I'm going to salute them. And you should too.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Winter Reading

The Telegraph came up with a list of '100 novels everyone should read'. And because I am obviously self indulgent enough to publish my own blog, I am also arrogant enough to believe that I should have my own list. So without further adieu:

10 novels Melissa thinks anyone who feels like it should read

10. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
It's sold over 400 million copies worldwide. Do I have to justify it?

9. The Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank
If you're:
a. a cynic who has little faith in humanity
b. an idealistic dreamer
c. both (like me) should read this. Especially if you're over the age of 12 and you haven't read it in a while. Or ever.

8. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
I've already expressed my admiration for this book once before. But I truly think that it conveys such a simple and profound message: help things grow.

7. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemmingway
I think if you're wandering through life trying to figure out what on earth to do with yourself, you might relate to Jake Barnes and his buddies.

6. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
In my opinion, if the first book you ever write gains this much success and you don't even feel the need to publish ever again, well, you must be pretty confident you've done something right.

5. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Her prose is stunning, beautiful, perfect.

4. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
Murakami simply amazes me. This is not my favorite of his books. However, it is a starter book. And one that will get you hooked. And I want you to get hooked. I want you to get hooked so badly that you cry about it (tears of happiness of course)

3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
I'm not really sure you should read this. I just know that if you're 15 years old and you feel like the ugly girl chewing your hair in the back of the classroom, you might feel better after you read this.

2. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
I have never before been so engrossed in a fictional world. And, I'd like to marry Howard Rourke. The man. Not the symbol.

1. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
It will blow your freaking mind.

I don't really feel I am any kind of authority on books. And you may have read all of these books already. And this list could obviously change tomorrow (like, say, after I finish Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence, which is practically begging me to be on this list!) But, ya know, it's winter. And you might be cold. And you might not feel like leaving your house ever again. You might feel like reading. And these books are probably pretty cheap on Amazon.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Milk, Mary, and other musings

Thinking about a lot of things lately to my chagrin, I'm not sure this post will necessarily tie any thoughts together in a cohesive way. But here goes...

Saw Milk on Saturday and was truly inspired by the film. Gus Van Sant had a remarkable way of weaving together the historical and personal events of Harvey Milk's life. And it was a life I knew virtually nothing about going in. I was amazed at how seamless and well-told the story was. Especially since we were only given a small snapshot: 8 years of his life. Given that I am setting up a lot of backstory in my novel right now, I was impressed with how subtle and effective it was done in this film. Suicide is also a running theme throughout the film and there was this idea that Harvey's brief but instrumental role in politics made him a kind of political and personal 'savior'. This led me to think about whether any living person can live up to such a symbol. And if so, how? Just something I've been thinking about as we see Obama though his early days in office.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of seeing Mary Poppins on Broadway. My mother insisted we go see it and, even though I pretended to put up a small protest, admittedly, I had no problems witnessing this wild spectacle. Mary Poppins is one of my favorite musical films of all time and, of course, it was Julie Andrews big coming out party back in the day and, for those of you who don't know, any connection to Julie Andrews, big or small, is a tie I never wish to sever. (And as you can see, I can't give much shoutout to the stage musical in the picture above. But only to Julie herself.) So I saw it and, despite its flaws, which really aren't worth getting into, I was truly inspired. In quite a different way than Milk. Any time you can see a woman fly through the air on an umbrella, no matter how cynical you may be, there has to be a kind of joy in your heart. It was made all that much better by the fact that my mother, in her own childish giddiness, questioned how they were able to achieve this illusion. Of course, I noticed how they had rigged her up because I was looking for it. But the lighting was good enough that it achieved the magic it was supposed to. So, for all intents and purposes, I saw Mary Poppins fly yesterday. And there ain't nothin' wrong with a little joy now and then. In fact, we need a whole lot more of it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bowtie Madness

While eating my pasta this evening, I was very aware of the fact that this starch was just slightly undercooked. It was bowtie pasta and, while a majority of it was soft and lovely, the little 'cinch' in the middle of the tie was just a little too hard. As I ate, I became completely obsessed with this small fact. I ate each little bowtie individually, wondering if the next one would be exactly the same. And the next one... And the next one... I began to wonder: how much longer could I have cooked my pasta? Did I really undercook it or is this an acceptable way to eat bowtie pasta? I briefly considered googling it. I wondered if Rachael Ray had ever found herself in this situation. Or Giada De Laurentis. And, it was then, that I realized something I had suspected for quite some time, I am completely and totally obsessed with food.

When I'm eating, I'm remarking on the food's taste, it's quality, it's texture. When I'm not eating, I'm wondering what my next meal will be. What time it will be at? Who will it be with? My social life practically depends on eating at restaurants with my friends and boyfriend. And my TV viewing is almost exclusively limited to the Food Network and Top Chef.

It got me thinking, how and when did this happen?

I went from being a skinny little slip of a thing who only ate cheese and ice cream (seriously, my dairy consumption as a child was completely out of control) to becoming a healthy, average-sized person (ok, I have a little buddha belly but flat stomachs are overrated) who eats anything anyone puts in front of me. Except cilantro. But more on that another time.

When I studied in London, I recall having a conversation about food. Someone relayed their opinion quite freely, 'A good meal was just as good as sex.' I could not fathom this. And trust me, it wasn't because I had an amazing sex life. Quite the contrary. But I just could not understand why a person would love food. Personally, I didn't even like it all that much.

Cut to 7 years later. I'm sitting at an afternoon meeting at Nickelodeon. And someone put out some snacks. Ya know, some cookies, some brownies, some fruit, your usual meeting fare. Suddenly, I noticed that something else had also been put out: chips and dip. Now, I've got to tell you. There are few things on earth that I feel are better than chips and dip. I can eat the stuff until I'm sick to my stomach and still go for my 100th dip. I wish I was exaggerating. So, setting out the chips was all well and good. Fantastic even. Except that the glorious chips and dip were at the completely opposite end of the loooong meeting table I was sitting at. I didn't listen to a word that was said at the meeting from that point on. I was absolutely fixated on that simple delicacy. It wasn't a formal meeting, but it wasn't the type of meeting where you could ask to pass the chips. And I watched and watched, as those lucky souls at the end of the table dug into those chips. And that dip. And I waited and waited until they finally called for a 'short break' when I noticed that those chips had been completely devoured with only one little cruddy onion from the dip hanging off the side of the bowl. I was devastated.

I'm trying to pinpoint the defining moment. When I went from seeing food as a boring but necessary source of nourishment to one of the most pleasurable experiences there could possibly be.

And I have to tell you, I'd much rather see my pants tighten a little bit and have to work out just a bit more, in order to eat some delicious grub. I just wish I didn't have to obsess over the hardness of my bowtie cinch all the time :-)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Can we? Many would say 'yes'.

I thought this was appropriate to post today. This is something I wrote November 3rd, 2004 after working for the DNC for many months. It is absolutely amazing how different I feel today.

I tried so hard to stay up last night to see who would take Ohio. At 1:30am I switched from channel to channel, looking at the little box in the corner that had Kerry's electoral count, CBS: 199, NBC: 199, ABC: 199, UPN: 199, CNN: 199, FOX: 144... I later turned to the internet, clicking to refresh, watching as the margin narrowed, 55%-45%, 52%-48%, 51% to 49%. Eventually, I fell asleep, literally dreaming of the red, white and blue map, all that RED, and the blue surrounding it, just a decorative border to that stronghold center.

I woke up this morning, and the results were loud and clear, and all I could think was: what the hell happened? I had all day to think about what happened. They say, let the best man win. A man who we're not really sure won the first time around. A man whose 2000 election beat-over-the-head catch phrase was the "Energy Administration" (the same administration that later oversaw gas prices rise to $2.50 in some states). A man who, despite snorts and smirks ("I know the difference Senator Kerry! ") clearly does NOT know the difference between Iraq and Afghanistan. A man who invents imaginary weapons, loses real weapons, distorts, manipulates and lies to it's people. A man who urges us to be fearless while ruling over us with fear. OR A man determined to erase the permanent marker of the last 4 years. A man who swore he identified with the middle class worker's strife, but never wore a blue collar or wandered the economic 'middle' a day in his life. A man who used his 3 purple hearts to win our hearts. A man who was not confident enough in the grey area we all understand, and, therefore, could not convince us of black and white. We did not have the best to choose from. And we should.

I respect John Kerry and the campaign I supported, the Committee I worked for, sometimes 17 hours a day, trying to convince the American people that all the sappy phrases, the 'mill worker's son', the 'help is on the way' were going to lead us in the right direction. I believed it when Barack Obama knocked all of our socks off. I even believed it when I was locked out of the fleet center, day four of the convention, minutes before Kerry's speech, begging the Secret Service to PLEASE, please, just let me back in to do my job and hear what he had to say. I wanted so badly to hear that the next four years would be better. Maybe even the best. I am dissappointed and disheartened with the decision the American people have made and the direction the nation is headed. I know that this sounds sappy and dramatic, but, for someone that has just recently begun to better understand the importance of the political process, let me have my lightbulbs dangle overhead. Like I said, we did not have the best to choose from. But we deserve the best. Now, we know we have to fight for it.
Recently, I read an article that said, if the 2004 election ballot read BUSH or NOT BUSH-- NOT BUSH would win. That makes it clear to me, that the American people are passionate, not necessarily about a man, but about a concept or an idea. They want to see their ideal realized. Every day, we have to fight for what we believe in, rather than who. That is what is most important.

I was so disheartened by that experience that I did not get involved in this year's election campaign at all. And I am more saddened by that than I was November 3rd, 2004. And so, it's happening. Today is happening. And I ask you. Did we get what we believe in this 2009? Maybe so...everybody. I certainly hope we did.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dangling Conversations...

Tonight I was fortunate enough to see 'A Conversation with Stephen Sondheim and Frank Rich' at Lincoln Center. Stephen Sondheim, the composer and lyricist. And Frank Rich, an Op-Ed Columnist for the New York Times. It was a really fascinating discussion about Sondheim's early work and a lot about his recent revivals and latest creations. There was less talk about all that happened in the middle, which is probably the meat of his career, but I was none-the-less 'stoked' (and I feel that is the correct term) to be there.

Perhaps the best part of the event was simply hearing the stories about the relationships with his many collaborators and friends. While his referring to Leonard Bernstein as 'Lenny' and Richard Rodgers as 'Dick' kind of rubbed me the wrong way, it made me realize that artists lead lives. How silly that sounds. But it's hard to step back and think about successful figures who are often in the public eye and think about them having conversations and arguments and ideas in their daily lives. And, with Stephen Sondheim sharing these stories, those small quirks and behaviors become as fascinating as the art they created. While successful artists leave their work as a legacy, it's their character that we rarely hear about it. All those people whose work you admire, what do you know of them? It's ironic that we have to define artists by what they've created rather than who they are. Because, for me, it's their character I want to get at. How did you become someone who created that?
Unfortunately, I don't think Frank Rich asked the right questions for me to learn enough about who Sondheim really is and, in some way, I think the picture above may say more about him than this conversation did tonight. There was never the question 'why did you make that' and 'why did you make it that way'? Hmm. Oh well...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Music and Mulder

I spent a majority of my day uploading to my ITunes library and watching the 1st season of The X-Files. And I don't feel guilty about it for 3 reasons:
1. It feels like -20 degrees out there

2. I ran 3 miles at the gym this morning

3. I finished 15 more pages of my novel yesterday

So I spent it indoors wearing old jeans and an over-sized Cornell sweatshirt as I drank Wild Cherry Seltzer (my new obsession) and pulled my snack table really close to my couch in order to eat one of my favorite meals: rice and beans. Breezing through X-Files episodes was a real treat since I haven't seen the show since around 1999. And, let me just say, Fox Mulder is as perfectly wonderful as I remembered.

But I digress... In my Itunes uploading frenzy (I am rebuilding my entire library after a hard drive crash) I came across some old music. And I became really nostalgic. I found some old CD mixes that people had made for me. Even old mixes I had made myself. And a boat load of other music I hadn't heard in years. It's amazing how many memories a song can bring. (Please excuse the cheese.)

In my nostalgia, I wanted to share a lyric from a particular Dar Williams song that I stumbled upon. It truly touched me, as it had when I first heard it over 7 years ago. The song is 'After All'.

Well, the sun rose.
With so many colors it nearly broke my heart
It worked me over like a work of art
And I was a part of all that

Not only is it a beautifully crafted lyric, but it has always put things in perspective for me. And maybe it will for you too.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Duathlon 2009

Last year, I participated in my first and only sprint triathlon. It was a half mile swim, a 12 mile bike (which I did not technically complete because of some missed signage) and a 5K run. My training was rigorous, at least for me. I was working out 6 days a week rotating between all three activities and, sometimes, stringing two together at a single workout. I also learned to swim properly, which I consider the greatest achievement of the entire ordeal. On race day I choked and froze (literally and figuratively) during the open water swim after getting kicked around and losing all rhythm to my breathing. I regained some confidence on the bike. And I finished off strong in the run, averaging a much higher time per mile than I had in any of my training. When I was finished I learned my mistake during the bike (I did one loop, not two) and was completely devastated. I've since accepted the mishap but I still find myself thinking I did not truly complete what I had set out to do.
I share all of this with you because I used the triathlon as a metaphor for my goals as a writer. Having made the decision to do such a physically intense race, I realized I would simply have to work my ass off for it. During my triathlon training it occurred to me that if I couldn't run 3 miles without feeling OK afterward, well, then I wouldn't be able to do a triathlon. Just as it often occurs to me now that if I don't sit down and write a chapter I won't ever have a novel. But, no matter how much I trained for the big event, I couldn't have anticipated my freak out during the swim or my complete brain fart during the bike. And as I take on this massive project of writing a novel I'm realizing that there are a lot of things I could not have anticipated, like life getting in the way of writing time and characters taking off and doing all kinds of crazy things that have me constantly re-adjusting and re-evaluating where I'm going and how best to get there.
Until now, I hadn't really sat down and fleshed out the connection between the triathlon and my decision to write a novel. But when I set out to do the darn thing (which is about the time I had a book idea stirring around in my head) I knew that they were linked. With the race, I simply wanted to complete it because I was tired of wanting to do something and feeling like I couldn't. And despite the fact that I've completed much more intense bike rides, it's pretty hard for me to shake the fact that, technically I didn't complete the bike portion of that damn race.
And I guess that's why I'm Duathlon-ing June 2009-- (run, bike, run). And even though I told everyone I knew I would never do an open water swim again, I have a sneaking suspicion I'm not going to stick to that statement :-) But only time will tell.
And I thought it would be really funny if I posted a picture of my bike just like Lance Armstrong did on twitter the other day. Cause that's how strongly I feel about doing whatever the heck you want to do even when it feels like there are a lot of things getting in your way.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sharing is Caring

Last October I participated in my very first writing workshop and I lucked out by workshopping with an incredible group of writers. All of us were workshopping novels and I was really impressed with the quality of writing and the quality of the feedback and critique. I somehow landed myself in a group that included a former Comparative Literature professor and a New York Times Staff Writer, not to mention a slew of other great talents who don't happen to have such fancy professional titles. After our last class, some of us decided to form a writing group and I'm excited about our first meeting, January 19th, of which I'll certainly share the results with you.
I just wanted to say that it has been really beneficial for me to start sharing my work. I started with a really incoherent first chapter in which my protagonist was sort of meandering around trying to figure herself out, which was really a symptom of me not knowing how to start the darn thing. With the help of my classmates, I was able to really focus my novel and move forward. Their feedback was incredibly valuable, as were the deadlines. It's very easy to procrastinate and I couldn't afford to when people were expecting me to turn over something and also offer feedback on their own works.
The experience really opened my eyes to how valuable it is to have people who are willing to read your work and who are going through the same setbacks and victories that seem to come with writing a long piece. I also learned how valuable it is to critique other people's work. You can really learn from sitting down and offering suggestions on how to make someone else's writing work better for them.
I don't know if workshops are for everyone but I do think that, in order for them to be beneficial, you have to be confident in your ideas and your abilities. In my opinion, you shouldn't change your work to satisfy anyone else but yourself. But you also can't expect to be able to see everything that might not be working in a piece (or on the flip side what is working) on your own. I'm glad I was able to put myself out there and share my pages but I don't think I would have benefited from it if I wasn't secure enough to know that what I was trying to write was worth writing.
I'd love to hear everyone's feedback on sharing your words and what kind of experience you had when you turned those first pages over for someone else to read...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Frigor my love

I've never been much of a sweets person. I much prefer a bag of chips, a chunk of cheese, some olives, some pickles. My philosophy is...the saltier, the better. But I've realized, as of late, that I am eating many more sweets than I ever had in my life due to a little thing called: the workplace. I can't tell you how many long meetings I've sat in where I suddenly rise up from my seat, like the second coming, pulled by some kind of magnetic force, to a plate of cookies that have been sitting out for three hours. I'm not even hungry. All that's left is some kind of mushy pecan thing. And I must tell you, I am not a fan of pecan things. Mushy or not. And yet, I eat it. And while I'm eating it, I'm thinking just how awful it tastes. And 20 min. later, I suddenly rise up and get another one. It makes no logical sense.

And then there are all these vendors, sucking up to us during the holidays, sending us boxes and boxes of all kinds of chocolately treats with little 'Best holiday wishes' notecards. And, whether you like sweets or not, when you have 12 boxes sitting on your desk, it's hard not to dive in without even thinking about it.
And, it's not just during the holidays. I won't even discuss the walk-around. I can't tell you how many times, for no apparent reason at all, I've simply wandered around from kitchen to kitchen, my brain reeling from one e-mail or meeting or another, just to see what kind of free food there might be for me to pick on.
Well, my coworkers have really gone and done it now. One of them returned from a trip to Switzerland armed with, what I can only call: crack from heaven. It's a candy bar. And it's really called Frigor, Chocolat Cailler.

And it is hands down, slap yourself senseless, run and tell your mama THE MOST DELICIOUS THING EVER. Whether you love sugar or salt, you will love this. Honestly, (and this is a big statement) I'd eat it over olives. Even the prune-like Moroccan ones.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Elmo loves you too!

I am working on a novel for adults (no, not that kind of adult novel...just calm yourself) but my 'day' job involves writing for a much different population: pre-schoolers. This means that, not only have I listened to the Dora theme song more times than anyone over the age of 5 should, but, also, that I have a big transition to make on a daily basis. From phrases like: 'Elmo loves you!' and 'Wanna play Kickety Kickball?' to, ya know, ideas that are, like, intelligent and grammatically correct and stuff.

It got me thinking a little bit about what that means. Having to jump around from looking at the world through the eyes of a 3 year old to really expressing my thoughts and observations about the world around us and translating that into a story that people would like to read.
And then I started to wonder if they were any different. If the things that stuck with us when we were five are the same things we're really brooding over now. But maybe there was a little more joy in it back then.
My favorite story when I was a kid was 'The Secret Garden'. My mother took me to see a rendition of it at a children's theater and some years later, I read the book and adored it. Many years later, when I studied abroad in London, my friend Lynn and I saw the musical version three times after discovering that it would only cost around 5 pounds a show. And, if you were to ask me about the story now, I could go on for quite some time about how genius I really think it is. (Feel free...)
So, I'm thinking the transition is not such a huge stretch. The way I saw things then is not very different from how I see things now (which is kind of scary). I guess I'm just better equipped to explore the themes that I find fascinating. But, in old age, we're also forced to question them- which is a double edged sword.
But I guess I shouldn't worry so much, because Elmo Loves me. Dude, he does. For real. He told me so.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Resolutionary Road

Yesterday, I decided to take the first day back to work in the new year and really grab it by the horns. I started a blog. I thought really hard about each and every toy I was working on. I sat down with a grey model of a Kai Lan toy and went step by step through the logic script for about an hour. I took detailed notes. I was diligent. I listened during all of my meetings. I didn't even pick my nails. And I ended the day with a trip down Revolutionary Lane. Road. Whatever.

Well. That was one way to start the new year. Have ya'll seen this film yet? Phew. It was something all right. Kate looked pretty. Leo looked fat. Life looked grim.

They're at the beach, but life is not so sunny.

And all of the so-called 'steamy' sex scenes I'd been hearing about? Not so steamy. In fact, it was all pretty horrifying. Kate in her drab dresses and Leo with his oily hair going at it against kitchen cabinets to this monotonous piano music, all the while hating their empty lives in the New York City suburbs. Ack. Their sinking ship back in the 90's looked like High School Musical in comparison.
And while I thought the film was quite powerful in depicting a crumbling marriage in the 1950's, painting a very particular and severe portrait of the desperate housewife, the realization that things have not changed very much, if at all, was very unsettling.
Among many other things, it was a film about choices. And the fear of making, not the wrong ones, but the right ones. And I think that the beginning of a new year is exactly the right time to see this film. If for no other reason than you want to make sure you don't end up like the two tragic heroes in this story. I'm serious. You don't want to end up against that kitchen cabinet! It's not steamy. Not steamy at all.
So all of the plans you have right now, at the beginning of January, when you're bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and more idealistic than you might be, say, next December...make them happen. Because coulda, shouldas, and wouldas were not fun in the 1950's and they sure as hell are not looking any better in 2009.

Monday, January 5, 2009

First Time Is Charming

This is not the first time I have attempted to write a blog. But it is the first time I have attempted to write a blog that somehow defines me. I quickly realized that was futile, but I did it anyway. And now, here we are. I'm telling you what I'm doing and, somehow, it helps me tell you who I am.

I recently realized, that all over the world, writers are expressing themselves and people are reading the things they're expressing. When it happened, it was this mind-blowing discovery. I know that sounds silly but all of my life I have wanted to write things and have people read them. And I never really knew how. I thought there were a lot of rules regarding this. I thought that there was a tried and true strategy to have a career as a writer. That, just like doctors and lawyers and teachers, there had to be some kind of clear path. A certification even. But, while all my friends had flipped their tassle from one side of their graduation cap to the other and were standing in front of their students, or a courtroom, or listening to someone's heart, I still hadn't accomplished what I set out to do: become a writer.

I had all kinds of stories sitting, not only, in my desk drawers and on hard drives, but lounging, leaning even...ok...possibly snoring away in my head. And no one was reading them.

So, I sat down one day and told myself I was going to do what I'd wanted to do since I was a little kid (and had done once when I was 12 years old and wrote a book called 'Ten Is Enough' based ever so loosely on the 'Eight Is Enough' sitcom, but more on that later...): write a novel.

As soon as I did, things became a lot clearer for me. All of the sudden, I was telling some close friends and family what I was doing. It was terrifying to tell people that. Because it meant that I actually had to do it. And, as soon as I started telling people, there was this horrifying question. What is it about? And I had to answer. I had no choice. I mean, I wasn't delving into every little intricate detail, but there had to at least be some kind of loose synopsis. And that's how this whole thing started. First I had to tell myself I was writing a novel and, like all of the stories I had written that no one was reading, I knew that wasn't good enough. So I'm telling you.

Ever since I started telling people what I'm doing, I have been more motivated than ever to do it. And I have been. Writing-- that is. And writing more diligently than I ever have in my life. I know what you're thinking: Who cares? You're not the first person to sit down and write something with the intention of other people reading it. This isn't highly original, Melissa. And, I know it's not. But I'm doing it. And this is a blog. So I wanted you to know :-)