Weekly Link Love

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I’ve been sharing a lot of great content lately on Twitter, and it’s made me realize that it’s been quite a while since I shared quality posts on the blog. I used to do it weekly, but after a while I felt like I was searching for content to share, versus being excited to share new posts with my readers.

Now, I feel as if I’m overloaded with awesome posts I’ve been hoarding in my reader or sharing on Twitter. It’s about time to take that community spirit and share some awesome content on the blog with you guys.

Since I was cleaning out my reader, I thought one of the best things to do was share old posts that have been in there for years. Yes – years. I have posts dating back to 2011 in my reader. I save them because I’ve enjoyed them, but to be honest, it isn’t as if I go through my reader regularly for posts to read. I’m trying to simply my “Saved For Later” section, and in doing so, I’m going to share some posts with you from years and years ago.

Enjoy!

  • Way back in 2012, Amber wrote a great post about her emails and Facebook getting hacked. Now, I obviously wish she didn’t have to experience that, but she did a great job of informing other people what to look out for, and how to fix things if you ever get hacked.
  • I love to make tacos for dinner. It’s easy, filling, and usually quick to make, eat, and clean up after. Erin wrote an awesome post explaining how to make homemade taco seasoning, and I think you’ll like it as much as I do.
  • I love everything Project Life, so I have a lot of old posts to go through in my reader that I’ve saved overtime. Some of them aren’t useful, but others have awesome downloads or fun projects to sass up your Project Life album (and goodness, my 2015 album could use some sassing up!) Here’s a download from Elise for some quote cards she created.
  • Do you catch other people’s bad moods? I do, and I loved this video post by Gretchen Rubin, author of the Happiness Project and a few other books.
  • I’ve been thinking about making frozen meals as the baby will be here soon (and really, who’s going to want to be cooking?). Here’s a recipe Sara tried and tweaked for Chicken Marsala that I think I’m going to be trying out soon, too.
  • I really love Dani’s post on creating a vision board. Since my apartment is so tiny, I haven’t had a vision board for a few years now, but I love this post, and I hope when I have more room to hang things I can create something similar.
  • I have such a sincere love for American Sign Language. I myself only know the basics (and we’re talking complete basics), but I love to watch people communicate. I especially love to see people interpret music with ASL. Check out this great post.
  • We really seriously considered using cloth diapers for future baby O, and ended up deciding against it. However, I found this to be a great post on cloth diapering and one mama’s opinions.

The Lady Writers Interview Series: Mary Lide

I’m so excited to continue my new blog series in which I’ll be interviewing some incredible lady writers. Every woman I interview is someone I know and admire, and I can’t wait for you to get to know them as well. 

The third incredible lady I interviewed is Mary Lide. She and I went to the same graduate school, but at different times. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed the process.

11426633_816272875929_1135390652_nErin Ollila: You’re about to graduate from Fairfield University with your MFA in Creative Nonfiction. How do you feel? What are your thoughts on your past two years in the program, and what do you expect in the near future?

Mary Lide: I’m a little sad about graduating, because I’m going to miss the residencies. They were like writer summer camps for me. That said, I am excited about graduating, because it’s what I’ve been working for during these past two years. I really enjoyed my time in the program–every mentor I worked with was a dream. They understood my work, and pushed me to try new things. I’m proud of what I’ve written during the program–I think I’ve found my writing style. As for the near future…still figuring that part out!

 

EO: Let’s talk a little more about what you studied while in the program. What was your thesis about?

ML: My thesis is titled Still: Essays in 23 Frames. It’s a collection divided into three main categories: My mother, my family, and myself. Each section has a mix of lyrical essays and narratives. The subjects of the essays include death, mental health, childhood, the body, identity, fear, and longing.

 

EO: Sounds incredible. Did you come to Fairfield knowing you’d write essays or did that develop while you were there?

ML: Thanks! I think it turned out all right. I did come to Fairfield knowing that I wanted to write essays, but when I immersed myself in the program I really found the my writing style–I became more comfortable with lyricism.

 

EO: I remember everyone asking me “But what about your memoir?” when I told them I was writing a collection of essays in school. Did you have a similar experience? Do you think you’ll stick to short-form creative nonfiction, or do you ever play with the longer form?

ML: I got a lot of “What is your book about?” questions, which led into the whole “Well, I actually write essays…about my childhood…and stuff.” Memoir is such big part of our culture these days, so that’s what a lot of people automatically think when they hear “Creative Nonfiction,” but I think the essay is still going strong. I strive for brevity, so I think I’m going to stick with the short form for awhile. I’m always afraid of overwriting, which is a fear I need to get rid of when I’m drafting. It’s hard, though!

 

EO: Agreed! I’m curious, as a young female writer, have you ever gotten the “What can you possibly know about to write creative nonfiction?” type of question? If so, how did you respond? If not, what are your thoughts on that subject?

ML: I haven’t gotten the “Oh, you’re too young to write xyz” comments, but I know people who have. It’s a pretty dismissive thing to say to somebody. If you have something to write, and it’s important to you, then it’s valid–regardless of your age. I have a quote taped to my computer–“Always to see the general in the particular is the very foundation of genius.” In other words, if you’re a good writer, then emotions and thoughts that are universal will come out in your writing–even if you’re in your twenties and haven’t “lived life” yet.

 

EO: That’s a great quote! Okay, let’s switch it up a little. What writers and/or poets have made a huge difference in your writing?

ML: E.B. White made me want to write essays, and Brian Doyle’s work (especially The Wet Engine) helped me find my style. I also count Virginia Woolf as a major influence, particularly her essays. I studied and wrote poetry for my third semester project, and found myself really immersed in Sylvia Plath’s work. (One of the phone conversations with my mentor went like this – Me: “I’m reading a lot of Sylvia Plath recently.” *both of us laugh nervously* Mentor: “She said, as they laughed nervously…”)

 

EO: Okay, let’s have a little fun. If you could invite five characters over for a pot-luck dinner, who would you invite? What would you cook, and what do you think they’d bring?

ML: Oh – I love this question! Let’s see. I’d invite Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web, who would probably bring something vegetarian. Francie Nolan from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, who would bring me a new book instead of food. Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird, who would bring pickled pigs’ knuckles. Emilia from Othello, who would bring something deliciously Italian. And…let’s see…I’ll do another Shakespeare–Ophelia from Hamlet, who would bring me flowers.

 

EO: Okay, if you could pick any writer living or dead to have as a mentor who would it be?

ML: That is so hard! I would have to say E.B. White, because his work is what drew me into wanting to study the craft of writing. His essays are about as close to perfect as you can get.

If I ever tried to write fiction, I’d want Emma Donoghue as my coach–I am madly in love with her novels.

 

EO: Tell me a little about your writing habits. Are you a binge writer or a consistent writer?

ML: I try to be consistent, but I do tend to work in spurts. Because I have the tendency to edit as I go along (which is a habit I’m trying to break), it takes me a long time to finish something.

 

EO: Do you start multiple projects and work through all of them or do you only work on one thing at a time?

ML: I tend to focus all my energy on one thing at a time. I have a few things going right now, but all my energy is focusing on just one of them–an essay about the music of my childhood.

 

EO: You’re a pretty funny lady. Does humor find its way into your writing?

ML: Haha thank you! I actually don’t do a lot of humor writing–there are touches of the “funny” in my work, but it’s not satire or parody or sarcastic in any way. I read a lot of humor–I love David Sedaris–but that’s not what my writing is. I have a pretty obnoxious and loud personality, so a lot of people are surprised when they read my writing–it’s a lot different than the way I speak in my everyday life!

 

EO: If someone who was looking to apply to an MFA program came to you for advice, what would you share with them?

ML: I would tell them to get ready to read, read, read–it’s just as important as the writing itself. You can’t be a writer and not read. And you have to try and read outside of your own genre and comfort zone. I would also tell them to focus on cultivating their own style. That’s something huge for me that came out of my time in the program.

 

EO: Before we finish this interview, tell me any recommendations you have for other lady writers: favorite authors, favorite books, favorite essays, favorite food. Whatever comes to your mind.

ML: Ooh! Let’s see. Writers (this includes novelists, essayists, etc): Virginia Woolf, Susan Sontag, Sylvia Plath, Joan Didion, Hayden Carruth, Brian Doyle, White, Dan Chaon, Willa Cather, Emma Donoghue, D. H. Lawrence’s travel writings, Anne Carson, Amy Leach, E.B. White. I’m sure there are more that I’m forgetting. You can’t really go wrong with anything by any of those authors.

 

EO: How can my readers find you? Please share any social media links.

ML: My Facebook account is Mary Comments on Things. I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

The Lady Writers Interview Series: Stephanie Harper

I’m so excited to continue my new blog series in which I’ll be interviewing some incredible lady writers. Every woman I interview is someone I know and admire, and I can’t wait for you to get to know them as well. 

The second lovely lady I interviewed is Stephanie Harper. Stephanie and I went to the same graduate school, and she was also on Spry’s staff for quite some time. We were so lucky to have her keen eye and editorial skills working with our contributors. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed the process.

Stephanie Harper Reinventing ErinErin Ollila: I was so lucky to have you as one of my Editorial Readers at Spry Literary Journal. Does close reading other writers’ work influence your writing at all?

Stephanie Harper: Definitely. I think the influence is kind of twofold. On the one hand, I get to read many well-crafted pieces that inspire me and push me to go further with my own work. This has been a great source of energy for me. On the other hand, looking critically at the amount of submissions I go through each issue, I begin to see patterns emerge in regards to craft issues or certain writing ticks that turn me away from pieces. It makes me hyper-vigilant in my own work.

 

EO: Well said. I think learning from other’s mistakes is a type of job benefit. You can learn without making mistakes yourself. Let’s talk about your own writing for a moment. What mistakes of your own have you learned from along the way?

SH: That’s a great question. From a craft standpoint, I’ve found that there were a lot of small things I could edit out of my writing that totally opened it up. Dialogue tags, for example. And adverbs. You don’t always realize how all those added words can muddy the waters of your prose until you start to really consciously eliminate them. And, sometimes it’s just a matter of having something spelled out in detail… It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out the difference between an en-dash and an em-dash. In terms of professional lessons learned, I’ve discovered that you have to be really careful with freelance work, particularly in taking on projects for individuals. While most of my clients have been wonderful, there’s been a time or two where I’ve gotten significantly underpaid or even not paid at all for work I’ve done. I’ve learned that you have to have a good grasp of the assignment and the time you will potentially put in before you start in order to make sure the fee is fair. I’ve also learned for large scale projects worth a lot of money, that if an individual is willing to pay at least a portion of the sum up front, this is a good insurance policy.

 

EO: How did you get started in the world of freelance writing. Are there any projects that you like better than others?

SH: The first site I ever wrote for was The Examiner. This was a pay per page view model and I was writing about Entertainment topics. It was more of a pet project than anything, an opportunity to write about fun subjects and maybe make a little money on the side. When I got serious about freelance copywriting, I started applying to agencies that hired freelancers. I’ve worked with several different companies over the last few years. I’m fortunate now to have a company that I’ve establish a long term relationship with that is always willing to give me work, even if I leave and come back. The subjects are not always the most glamorous, but the work is steady and the per article rates are above industry standards. My favorite freelance gig was for a travel company, simply because I got to research a lot of really interesting places all over the world—definite fuel for the bucket list.

I’ve done freelance editing as well. Those projects tend to be more on an individual basis. I’ve found clients through craigslist and Elance. What I love doing most in this arena is manuscript reviews of book doctoring. It allows me to really get my creative juices flowing.

 

EO: It is so great to have a well-balanced writing background. Tell me more about your fiction writing. I’d love to know how your book is coming along.

SH: My first novel, which came out of my MFA thesis, is currently under representation with an agent. It’s been an excellent experience so far. I spent about six months revising the novel based on my agent’s suggestions and came out of it with a better book. Now, I’m in the waiting period, hoping she can find a home for it with a publisher. In the meantime, I’ve started with my next novel. It’s in early stages, so I’m still trying to wrap my head around characters and concepts. It’s exciting but also daunting. I’m hoping to take advantage of NaNoWriMo and really get cranking.

 

EO: How do you feel in the waiting period? Is it an anxious time? Does starting your new novel take your mind off of the waiting?

SH: It’s definitely an anxious time. In some ways, I think we’re trained to think that once we get to the pitching point, it’s only a matter of time before something happens. But that waiting period can be incredibly long and there are certainly no guarantees. It’s definitely been an excellent lesson in patience and keeping a level head. It took me a while to jump into the new novel. I’d poured myself so fully into the characters in my first novel and then put them in someone else’s hands. I needed some time to get them out of my head, to refuel before fully investing in a new project. So, I wrote a lot of poetry for a while, published some personal essays and articles, kept things small. And, I kept thinking and researching and planning the next big project, started getting to know my new set of characters a little. Now, I’m at the point where I’m ready to really jump back in with both feet.

 

EO: I’m always amazed at how different authors tackle research. What does research look like for you?

SH: I think the key to research, for me, is balance. I am very meticulous when it comes to details and I think it would be easy to get so swept up in learning that I forget to write. Because of this, I sort of approach research in two stages. There are certain things I like to have a grasp of in the beginning. For example, in my first novel, my protagonist is agoraphobic. I wanted to have a solid clinical understanding of what that meant before I proceeded. At the same time, I didn’t want to overdo it, because I wanted to come up with my own descriptions for his anxiety and panic. It needed to make sense for the disorder but also speak to his unique worldview. I couldn’t get too deep into others’ interpretations of the illness. That’s where the balance comes in.

I also spend a lot of time doing research while I’m writing. Maybe it’s a product of growing up in the internet age, but I rely heavily on being able to look information up in the midst of the writing process…Google at my fingertips. If I am talking about a certain geographic area, I might read tourist guides, look at photos, and even bring up a map. This kind of exactness is extremely important to me. But I try not to let it disrupt the flow of the writing process either. So, if I’ve got a good rhythm going, I’ll make a note in the manuscript that something needs looking into, and come back to it later.

 

EO: Let’s talk about some of your inspirations. Who do you read?

SH: My reading habits are pretty diverse. I’m very character driven, so I’m always looking for those authors who tell an important story through the complexity of the characters they create. I’m definitely drawn to quirk. I also love anything that tackles myth or magical realism… Things that are slightly off color and speculative. Because of where I’m at professionally, I also take a great interest in debut novels and women writers. Some authors I really admire right now are Margaret Atwood, Michael Chabon, Peter Heller, and Aimee Bender. I also think there’s a lot to learn from the classics. I read Jane Austen and George Eliot to really understand how to write about the emotional and intellectual lives that people lead and how they connect to each other. I read a lot of poetry as well, mainly because I think the language in lyricism really inspires my prose. I love e.e. Cummings and Mary Oliver.

 

EO: If you could choose any writer – living or dead – to be your mentor for a year, who would you pick and why?

SH: That’s a tough one! I think I would say Margaret Atwood. There are so many things to admire about her. She decided she was going to be a writer very young and has always stuck to her goals. She’s had a lengthy, prolific career. Her prose is magic and she’s a talented poet as well. I love that she writes in a variety of genres and is always pushing boundaries, experimenting. And she’s a highly respected critic as well. Just brilliant. What couldn’t I learn in a year?

 

EO: Agreed. A year is such a long and such a short amount of time. Do you have any idea what you’d want to work with her on?

SH: Well… everything is probably the most honest answer. I think when you are gifted with a wise and willing mentor, even just the ability to converse or ask for small snippets of advice is immensely helpful. I think there’s also great benefit in learning about others’ experience as a writer. I feel like someone who’s done as well as Margaret Atwood would have a lot to teach me.

 

EO: That is a great answer. The question isn’t one that is easy to answer, and I think your response is very honest. Speaking of mentors, who did you enjoy working with the most in Fairfield University’s MFA program?

SH: I really had positive experiences with all of my mentors. Nalini Jones helped me a great deal both in my first semester and as my thesis mentor. Her guidance and friendship has been truly indispensable. Eugenia Kim was also fabulous and really helped me clean up my prose style. And, I had Rachel Basch as a second reader and she really encouraged me to dig deeper with my characters and tease more out of them.

 

EO: Before we finish this interview, tell me any recommendations you have for other lady writers: favorite authors, favorite books, favorite essays, favorite food. Whatever comes to your mind.

SH: I would suggest “Bird By Bird” by Anne LaMott. I also got a lot out of The Paris Review’s “Women Writers At Work.” It’s a great collection of interviews and offers so nicely varied perspectives.

 

EO: How can my readers find you? Please share any social media links.

SH: My website is www.stephanie-harper.com. You can also follow me on Twitter @StephanieAHar and Instagram @StephanieAH27

Currently in June 2015

IMG_0893Reading:

Frank McCourt’s Tis

Ann Hansley’s Everybody Writes

Stephen King’s Joyland

Also, since we just published issue 06 of Spry Literary Journal, we had a backlog of submissions to catch up with, so I’ve been doing a lot of reading for the journal as well.

Listening: to my “Work” playlist on Spotify. It’s so terrific, and I have a real hard time not belting out a tune in the office.

Excited: about celebrating my 1st wedding anniversary yesterday with my husband. I feel so fortunate to be married to him. We’re going to see Daniel Tosh perform this weekend, and that’s something else I’m quite excited about. Keep your fingers crossed that I don’t pee my pants from laughing too hard!

Watching: Orange is the New Black, Grey’s Anatomy Season 11, Wentworth

Wearing: dresses, lightweight maternity clothing.

Wishing: for a healthy baby. I’m really not wishing for anything specific besides that. Everyone wants to know if I’m ready for pregnancy to be over (5 weeks left), but I’m really not. I enjoy feeling her move around inside of me, and overall, I’m feeling pretty great. I just want to enjoy this as much as possible. In the same regard, I’m still super excited to meet her. I just hope that she is healthy as can be.

Drinking: Same old drinks: orange juice, cranberry-grape juice, or water.

Loving: this season. Most of the days have been incredible. Quite warm with a nice breeze.

Loathing: When my feet hurt from carrying this extra weight around or when I get super sweaty because of being pregnant and the summer weather.

Admiring: Wolverine. He did a great job in his first season of Little League. He also did a great job as a student in 3rd grade, which is soon to come to an end. He’s such a great kid, and I’m so fortunate to have him in my life.

I realized that I can tell people I’m having my baby next month when they ask. How did June come so quickly? Plus, we’re already halfway done. Yikes – what about you, friends?  How is your month going?

Check out what I was doing, thinking, and feeling in JanuaryFebruaryMarchApril, and May.

The Lady Writers Interview Series: Maria Marmanides

I’m so excited to begin a new blog series in which I’ll be interviewing some incredible lady writers. Every woman I interview is someone I know and admire, and I can’t wait for you to get to know them as well. 

The first lovely lady I’ll be interviewing is Maria Marmanides. Maria and I went to the same graduate school, and I adore her. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed the process.

 

6Erin Ollila: Okay so to start, I guess my first question is how and why did you get into copywriting and editing. Is this something you’ve been doing for a while or something that started after the MFA program?

Maria Marmanides: When I graduated from my undergrad, all I knew was that I wanted to be “a writer.” I don’t even think I knew what copywriting was – I just got lucky with a creative director who was willing to take a chance on someone with no real experience, but a lot of drive, badly drawn sketches and a propensity for making puns.

Now I’ve been a copywriter for nearly a decade, so long before I even considered going back to school to get my MFA. In fact, it was being a copywriter that motivated me to go back to get it. Not because you need an MFA to work as a copywriter – you really don’t – but because I was starting to lose my own voice. You write so much in marketing speak, and for various brands and different target audiences – that you start to lose a little bit of what makes your writing yours. That’s why I decided to go back to get my MFA, to get back to the core of what I love about writing, which is, revealing a personal truth, however shameful, embarrassing, or uncomfortable, in hopes of a creating a honest connection with someone else who has felt that same way. I didn’t want to be a writer because of some deep-rooted need to get someone to buy another bottle of shampoo.

 

EO: I love that you made the decision to get your MFA because you wanted to refine and also redefine your “voice.” As a creative nonfiction writer, building my voice is paramount. I’ve always wondered about voice in fiction. How do you develop the voice of your characters?

MM: I’m writing what could be considered a roman a clef – it’s a fictional novel that borrows very, very heavily from my life. So it should seem easy. Your main character is you, so she writes, thinks, and acts like you. But you have to create a kind of emotional distance from yourself when you’re writing, while also trying to draw the reader in with an immediacy of language. If that makes sense. I’m having to distance myself as the writer, from myself as the character, so I can see myself clearly enough to be able draw my reader in with these very exact details and descriptions so she seems really real. Everything matters. Word choice, cadence to her narration. And then you’ll hear things in workshop, more often about other characters I’ve written, where they question the believability. “I don’t think a guy would say something like that.” Or, “doesn’t this mother seem a little broad? Cliched?” And as the writer, you’re thinking to yourself, “but my mother can be a caricature!” Or, “that guy really did say that!” But the failure isn’t on the reader. It’s on me, and it’s a failure of the voice. The biggest challenge is making each character feel like a living, breathing, actual human being, despite what may actually be fact.

 

EO: Fact – isn’t it such a funny “tool” in writing. As a creative nonfiction writer, I need to accept that I cannot bend fact. I’ve always wondered what is is like to write fiction based on real life. Do you have a hard time making fictional choices or has that been fun for you?

MM: It’s that very reason that I decided to study and write fiction instead of creative nonfiction. I just wanted the flexibility to bend the truth – and invent it – where I wanted. Which is funny, because even after having that freedom, I felt so bound by “what really happened,” that when a mentor or workshopper made a suggestion, I couldn’t help but think, “but that’s not what happened.” It was really limiting my creativity – and more importantly, the plot! I wish I could say something magical happened, but it was really just two years of working up the courage, making small changes at first and getting comfortable with those. Then, that would lead to a cascading effect, where I built on those small changes more and more, and then looked back and realized, NOW I am really writing fiction. And that’s when things got interesting, because I had to imagine how I/my character would’ve reacted to these new situations that were now purely invented. So yes, I got to the fun part, it just took me a while to allow myself to get there.

 

EO: I think small changes are the best to make while practicing craft. Have you ever made a large change in writing? If so, what was that experience like?

MM: Funny you ask. Right now, i’m in the middle of writing through my first major, major change, something that I have no real-life, personal experience with, and it’s been fun trying to picture this fictionalized version of myself, and wonder how “I: would respond, react, feel, think. It’s fun and scary writing through it.

 

EO: Writing can definitely be scary sometimes. I’m always wondering what writers were like as children. Tell me about Maria as a youngin’.

MM: When I think back to who I was as a kid, adult Maria just wants to reach out, hug her, and tell her everything is going to work out OK for her – if that’s not a weird thing to say about yourself. The same things my parents praised me for and encouraged in me, like reading and studying, were things I was obviously teased about. Add in huge Sally Jesse Raphael-style red glasses that took up my whole face and being a chubby, Greek kid, and my self esteem was pretty low. And because of that, I just liked to be in my room, reading, anything and everything, I mean, even warning labels on the back of cleaning products. And just escaping into a fantasy world where I would think about what I would be like when I was older. What I would look like, if I’d ever get a boyfriend, if I’d have a cool job with lots of friends and write books and make lots of money. Normal kid fantasies. I did have friends, lots of them, but I always felt a little on the outs in a group. To be honest, I still do. That feeling never went away, of just wanting to be alone, in my room, reading, and obsessing about my future. I still do those things!

 

EO: It’s great to hear that you are the adult version of your young self. What do you think grown-up Maria will be doing. Where do you see yourself in the future?

MM: It’s funny that I just told you that I still think about my future all the time, but part of that is that it also causes me a tremendous amount of anxiety. I was talking about this with a former mentor I had in the program, and she told me to read Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now. It was pretty eye-opening, just how ineffectual it is to either worry about the past or obsess about the future. That all we have is the moment. That you have never lived in any moment but the one that is happening right now. So maybe it’s not my real answer to your question, but it’s answer. I see myself living in the moment. Or trying to more, anyway.

 

EO: That’s a great answer. Side stepping for a bit: Today on Facebook I noticed you giving great advice to an MFA student about humor writing. Someone else jumped in to say that you were hilarious. What a great compliment! How does humor fit into the fiction and nonfiction you’re currently working on?

MM: This probably will reveal a lot about my own personal psychology, but like most people, not only do I remember negative comments, but I dwell on them. And one workshop comment that’s stuck with me is this: “Maria writes very funny. I laughed a lot while reading this. But if you remove the humor, what is the story? Isn’t this a twice-told tale?” And because I lash out when I’m angry, I can only thank the workshop rules for making the workshopee be silent, because I immediately thought in my defensiveness, “well then I won’t remove the humor then, will I?” And this little angry anecdote I think answers your question, or at least, leads me to answer it. The humor fits into my piece because you can’t separate it. If you were to remove the humor, it’s as if to suggest I write [insert joke here] as I go, and therefore could easily remove it should I need to. But I don’t. I think all writers write autobiographically, even when they’re not writing as themselves. Every sentence is a reflection of how the author sees the world – or how the author thinks others do. And so, my narrator/main character’s humor is an integral piece to her characterization and development. Also, it’s just fun to write.

 

EO: Before we finish this interview, tell me any recommendations you have for other lady writers: favorite authors, favorite books, favorite essays, favorite food. Whatever comes to your mind.

MM: I spend an embarrassing amount of time of the Internet, which everyone knows, is bad for a writer. Or at least for me. So while I’ve been trying to cut back on my social media-ing, having said that, the person I seek out deliberately is Roxane Gay. No matter what’s happening in the news, she finds the perfect words to describe how we feel, without anger or rage. It’s not outrage for the sake of outrage, which you find so often in opinion-based journalism. It’s just rational, reasonable and still emotional. And often pointed and funny. So definitely Roxane Gay’s essays, and her book of essays, Bad Feminist, is what I would recommend.

For more fun stuff, my favorite video game, throwback edition, is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Current edition is The Walking Dead: The Game from Telltale, because even if you would never consider yourself a gamer, this is less about hacking and slashing and more about putting yourself in the character’s shoes, faced with really tough, often life-or-death decisions, and having seconds to react. And sometimes those reactions are just conversations and building relationships with the non-playable characters. It’s amazing storytelling. And slight-spoiler alert, if you do play, (which you should!!!), is at the end of the first season, I cried these big, hot tears while sobbing inconsolably for at least an hour, even after the game was over. Mascara running down, total staring at your belly button afterwards on the couch, wondering if I had done the right thing. Just so, so good.

 

EO: How can my readers find you? Please share any social media links.

MM: You can find me on Twitter at @copymaria, and I will start blogging again at mariamarmanides.com. Thank you so much, this was so much fun!!

Pregnancy Update: 34 Weeks

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34 weeks and 2 days (at work!)

How far along? 34 weeks and 2 days pregnant. 40 days until my due date.

Total weight gain: I’ve gained 25.2 pounds according to my doctor’s visit yesterday.

Maternity clothes? You bet – most of the time. I occasionally wear shirts from my pre-pregnancy days, but I’m mostly wearing all maternity clothing right now. So thankful for my friends who outfitted me this pregnancy.

Stretch Marks? None yet.

Sleep: I’m sleeping pretty well and loving it. However, I’m definitely finding myself more sleepy in the third trimester. Some days doing just a little leaves me exhausted. Other days I can accomplish a lot. I guess that is to be expected at this point.

Miss Anything? Soft cheese.

Movement: Movement has gotten much stronger. I mean, I always thought it was pretty strong, but occasionally it  feels as if Little Miss O is beating her way out of me.

Food cravings or aversions: Both are the same as before. No aversions right now. Most of what I’m interested in eating is sweets like fruit or ice cream.

Symptoms: Normal stuff. I’m uncomfortable while sleeping sometimes. If I over do it my feet start to really hurt. I waddle when I walk. I pee a lot. That’s it, folks. Honestly, I still feel great.

Belly button in or out? In still. I don’t really think it can go out, but the inside of my belly button is a bit more pronounced if that makes any sense.

Wedding rings on or off? The rings are off and locked up somewhere very safe. Such a bummer. Last week we had a few chilly says in Massachusetts, so I thought, “Great, I can put my rings back on.” Nope. They wouldn’t slide over my knuckle. Oh, well. I’ll see them soon enough.

Mood: I’m getting a bit nervous overall about delivery and infancy in general. Overall though, I’m still happy and feeling great. I have noticed that I’m feeling a bit more sensitive to things. I might personalize someone’s comments or get hurt by something unintentional.

Looking forward to: the one year anniversary of our wedding this weekend.

Thoughts: Many people have asked me if I’m ready for this baby to get here. Nope – not yet! Honestly, I really enjoy this pregnancy. As curious as I am about this baby, I’m happy to let her grow a little bit longer. I’m going to enjoy every moment in the next six weeks.

Previous updates: 16 weeks, 20 weeks, 24 weeks, 28 weeks, 30 weeks, 32 Weeks

Spry Literary Journal Issue 06 Has Launched!

Incredible news for you folks on this fine Monday:

Issue 06 of Spry Literary Journal has launched! We’re so happy to share this awesome writing with you and hope you’ll spend some time getting to know our incredible contributors. Check it out here.

Thanks so much to the awesome Spry team for all their hard work and dedication this past issue.

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Pregnancy Update: 32 Weeks

31 weeks and 5 days pregnant

How far along? 32 weeks. I can’t believe there are only (approximately) 8 weeks to go!

Total weight gain: I’m up to a total weight gain of 23 pounds. The majority of people who know me say that I still look pretty small for 32 weeks. However, I have gotten my first “Oh, you’re going to deliver wayyy before the end of July” reaction, so I guess that means I’m starting to plump up. I’m actually really happy with the changes in my body, so the weight gain makes no difference to me at all.

Maternity clothes? Still wearing a mix of “normal” clothing and maternity clothes. It’s that weird transition time in a New England spring when long sleeves and short sleeves are both appropriate, so I find myself either layering up (and removing layers) or changing during the day.

Stretch Marks? None yet.

Sleep: I’ve actually been sleeping a little better since the last update. I’m still (mostly) not getting up in the night to go to the bathroom, though that happens maybe 1-2 times a week. I cannot complain about my sleep in any way. I’m so fortunate to get this amount of sleep this late in the pregnancy.

And yes, I’m trying to enjoy it while I have it.

Miss Anything? Since the last update, I actually thought to myself once, “I would love an iced coffee right now,” and also, “Man, I could go for a beer.” Both feelings subsided about as quickly as I thought them, so…yay!

Movement: This little lady is all over the place most of the time. She’s been making some more pronounced movements, and I can tell there is an elbow or a foot or something moving right under my skin. Unfortunately, I can never pull up my shirt in time to sneak a peek at my belly, and see if I can see it happen. Also, today was the first time I felt hiccups. That was fun.

Food cravings or aversions: I don’t think I really have cravings in this pregnancy. I think cravings for me are more similar to really enjoying a certain snack or food. In the past two weeks I’ve been really grateful for orange juice, guacamole, cherries, raspberries, green apples, and that ice cream sandwich that is made up of two cookies with vanilla ice cream in between.

Gender: I think at this point we’re all pretty aware the baby is a girl. I doubt that is going to change. I just had my baby shower this past weekend, and I cannot tell you how much people love buying baby clothes for girls. We got so many cute outfits, and I can’t wait to dress this little lady up.

Symptoms: The heels of my feet really hurt if I do too much. We started moving around our apartment this past weekend to make room for baby (and for all of the baby stuff we were given at the baby shower) and wow, I really felt achy.  I had to take a few breaks throughout the day because I was just too sore, and my feet still really hurt.

Belly button in or out? In still

Wedding rings on or off? I’ve been wearing them sporadically since the last update, and I think that’s going to be my new normal. Whether or not I wear my rings usually depends on the weather. If it’s a really hot day, I don’t wear them, because I know my fingers will swell a little during the day. Luckily it’s been nice enough that I’m still wearing my rings the majority of the time.

Mood: Still happy and loving being pregnant. I’ve got a little teary a few times since the last update, but only really cried once. The other times tears just came to my eyes (for silly reasons) and left just as quickly as they got there. Thank goodness for this. I can be a crier, so not crying throughout my pregnancy is awesome.

Looking forward to: getting all the baby gear set up and my apartment back in order and organized. Everything is pretty well cleaned since our rearrangement, but since we removed some storage to make room for a crib, etc now we need to sort and find new homes for some items.

Thoughts: This weekend was a bit overwhelming. First was my baby shower, and then we took a family trip to go to a Red Sox game, and finally we did an incredible amount of reorganization in our apartment and storage. It’s times like this that I’m so grateful for Mr. O. When I get overwhelmed with projects like sorting/cleaning/organizing an immense amount at once, he’s level-headed and has a plan. It’s so great to have a husband who is so helpful in times like these.

Previous updates: 16 weeks, 20 weeks, 24 weeks, 28 weeks, 30 weeks

Currently in May 2015

photo-1428452788387-375d846a8ab4Reading:


 

Listening: I just finished “The Remedy for Love” audiobook by Bill Roorbach. I listened to it whenever I was driving. It’s a drastic improvement to the radio. I signed up for Audible, though I’m not really sure how I feel about the membership yet.

 

Excited: about the weather. It’s been simply beautiful in Massachusetts. I feel like we kind of just skipped spring and went straight into summer, but overall it’s just glorious compared to that hellish winter we had.

 

Watching: I’m still watching my way through this list of 10 true crime documentaries, and I recommend that you do the same. I’m catching up with Blacklist season 2, because I was a few episodes behind. I just finished Bloodline season one on Netflix, and I’m starting House of Cards season three. Bloodline was a slow start, but good in the end. This season of House of Cards isn’t impressing me so far. I’ve been watching Forensic Files on both Netflix (3 seasons) and Amazon Prime (15 seasons), and sadly I’ve come to the end of my binging. Man, I love me some Forensic Files. Maybe that’s just the old lady inside of me, but it’s definitely one of my top favorite television shows. Do you have any suggestions for a new short (20-30 minute) show I can watch now that Forensic Files is over?

 

Wearing: A mix between early spring and summer clothing. That means I usually have a cardigan or light sweater with me, but you might see me in a dress, t-shirt, or even (gasp) shorts. Basically, I just wear whatever works with my pregnant body at this point.

 

Wishing: that the weather stays as beautiful as it has been lately. On a more selfish note, I’m also hoping that pregnancy treats me as kindly has it has in the past 31 weeks for the next 9 weeks. I can already tell that the heat influences how I feel with things like swelling and general aches, so fingers crossed I keep feeling great from this point forward.

 

Drinking: Water with lemon, orange juice, cranberry raspberry juice, regular water. Have any tips on ways to sass up your water? I’m trying to increase my water intake versus drinking juices, and I’m a little bored with my water. I’ve done: water with lemon, water with cucumbers, and water with raspberries and pineapples. Thoughts?

 

Loving: Baseball season. I don’t know if I was clear about it in my previous posts, but Wolverine was lucky enough to get moved up to Little League in the first week of the season this year. The season is already half over (how does time fly so fast?), but I really like the team he’s on. He’s got great coaches and players, and he’s coming into his own as a little leaguer. The best part is that now he’ll be on this team until he ages out of Little League, which won’t be for three-four years.

 

Loathing: Just little things that Pregnant Erin notices (and cares about) that Normal Erin wouldn’t let bother her. For example, my co-workers went out to grab lunch last week and they ordered kebabs and veggies. Notice how both of those two words are plural. They in turn received one kebab and some vegetables, and were told that was what the meal consisted of (even though the menu stated kebabs.) Now, this has been botherin Pregnant Erin quite a bit. Did I order the kebabs? No. Was I even there when this happened? Nope! Just holding on to it though, because this type of thing is currently driving me crazy.

 

Admiring: My two best girlfriends. One had her first baby in January and is doing a great job at balancing momhood, work, and everything else. The other had her second baby last week, and things are going great as a family of four now.

 

Can you even believe it’s May? I can’t! How’s the month treating you?

Check out what I was doing, thinking, and feeling in JanuaryFebruaryMarch, and April.

Pregnancy Update: 30 Weeks

29 weeks and 4 days

29 weeks and 4 days

How far along? 30 weeks. I’m officially at the point where my monthly meetings at the doctor’s office are now biweekly and will soon be weekly.

Total weight gain: We made a jump up to 20 pounds this week. I never thought I’d be happy to be gaining weight. I guess that’s just the clarity you gain from losing weight for a while when pregnant. I’m still feeling great physically so that’s all that matters.

Maternity clothes? Still wearing a mix of “normal” clothing and maternity clothes. At this point, if I’m wearing a dress it may or may not be maternity. If I’m wearing a top and bottom, the bottom is definitely maternity, and there’s a good chance that the top is maternity as well, though I still have a small stash of my normal tops I’m wearing – especially cardigans. I love my cardigans!

Stretch Marks? None yet.

Sleep: Meh. I’ll tell you one noticable thing about my third trimester. I’m more tired now than I was in my second trimester, and that started pretty much immediately. My routine hasn’t changed at all. In the past two weeks I’ve only taken one 40 minute nap, but overall I feel the difference. Also, I’m not sleeping as comfortable as I have been in the past 3o weeks, but I mean, I guess that was to be expected. I’m still sleeping through the night for the most part, but the tossing/turning/feeling uncomfortable is much more present.

Miss Anything? I miss not having to throw myself over in bed when changing positions, but that’s about it.

Movement: The baby has been moving quite a bit in the past two weeks, and I love to feel her wiggle around in my belly. My favorite is when other people can feel her move. Wolverine and my niece both felt her wiggle this weekend. It’s so fun to see the shock in a kid’s eyes when they realize they actually felt the baby.

Food cravings or aversions: Things that I remember wanting to eat since the last update: chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches, milk duds, green apples, raspberries, frozen yogurt, eggs and american cheese, beignets, orange juice, and that’s all I can remember off the top of my head.

Thankfully, no food grosses me out at this point. That was a horrible feeling for a food lover like me. The only thing I’d mention (which isn’t technically an aversion) is sometimes I feel very blah about food. This usually happens when it’s meal-planning time. I just have no interest in anything that’s actually available for me to eat, but no opinions on alternatives either.

Gender: Baby girl. We’re still deciding on names, though I’m pretty positive we both know which we’ll chose.

Symptoms: Nothing really, but my feet and ankles have been hurting for a few days. I’ve been trying to elevate them, but obviously, I can’t be sitting all day long. It’s honestly not that bad, just something new and noticeable.

Belly button in or out? In still

Wedding rings on or off? Well, they made it all the way to week 30, but there is a very good chance they are coming off this week. They still fit just fine, and I can take them on and off without a problem, but with the heat we’ve been having lately, I don’t feel safe leaving them on for much longer. I think they will be sporadically on and off this week, but I don’t want to risk needing them cut off.

Mood: My mood feels about the same as my last update. Overall, I’m quite happy and loving being pregnant. I’m very impatient with other drivers, and I may be a tiny bit snappier than usual.

Looking forward to: Meeting my best friend’s baby who was born yesterday! She has been 10 weeks ahead of me throughout my pregnancy, so it’s been very fun to track our pregnancies together. Now that she’d had her baby it’s making my upcoming delivery feel even more realistic.

I’m also looking forward to my baby shower. It will be so nice to have my friends and family in one place.

Thoughts: I can’t believe I only have 10 weeks left in this pregnancy. It’s all going so quickly. I just feel so fortunate to be pregnant and to have a healthy pregnancy.

Previous updates: 16 weeks, 20 weeks, 24 weeks, 28 weeks

Pregnancy Update: 28 Weeks

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27 weeks and 2 days pregnant in this picture

 

How far along? 28 weeks, which means I’ve officially started my third trimester. Yikes.

Total weight gain: 14 pounds as of my last visit two weeks ago. I’m still smaller than I expected to be at this point, but I love my baby belly.

Maternity clothes? I’m still so grateful for all the maternity clothing my best friend gave me because it’s all I pretty much wear at this point. I did buy a whole bunch of maternity dresses from Old Navy a couple of weeks ago, and I love them. The only problem is that I’m so short, so my sister-in-law has to hem them for me. I’m so grateful that she’s able to do that!

Stretch Marks? None yet – again, I’m surprised by this, but am very grateful.

Sleep: I’m still sleeping pretty well. My hips are definitely achey because of side sleeping, but adjusting with pillows helps. I will tell you, I’m sleeping with a regular body pillow now, and it actually makes it more comfortable than I was even a week or so ago. I’m trying to not complain about sleep in any way though because I feel like I’m a huge rarity for being able to still sleep through the night 95% of the time at 28 weeks pregnant.

Miss Anything? Not really. Mostly just random food or drink that I can’t have, but I don’t really miss anything. I didn’t sleep well last night so this morning I miss coffee. I mean, I could have one if I wanted to, but I’m going to pass.

Movement: I can now see the baby move just by looking at my stomach. Movement is my absolute favorite perk of being pregnant. At first it was so incredible just to feel it happen inside my body (it still is incredible in my opinion), and now I can see my entire stomach move when the baby moves. Totally incredible.

Food cravings or aversions: Thankfully, the aversions are completely gone. In fact, I’m just loving food in general. No real cravings at this point. Just enjoying everything.

Gender: It’s still a girl. I don’t expect that to change. And no, we haven’t decided on a name for the baby yet. That’s everyone’s main question after they find out the gender. We have a few ideas on names, but haven’t chosen one yet. There’s a good chance that we might not even decide on the name until we meet the baby.

Symptoms: Random aches and pains, leg cramps in the middle of the night, frequent bathroom breaks, growing belly.

Belly button in or out? In

Wedding rings on or off? On

Mood: I irrationally cried for the first time two weeks ago. I could see the humor in the situation while crying which was a pretty weird feeling for me. Besides that, I still feel very normal, very “me” which is a blessing. I’m definitely very outspoken about other people’s driving (it’s been my biggest pet peeve this entire pregnancy) and bad customer service. I find myself a little less patient and a little quicker to being snappy, but all in all, I feel really good and really mentally healthy while pregnant.

Looking forward to: my baby shower. My mom and mother-in-law are planning it for me, and I’m excited to have all of my friends and family in one place again.

Thoughts: It’s so weird to me that my best friend will have her baby before my next update. We’ve done this entire pregnancy together, so her having the baby makes me really realize that mine is coming just as quickly. At this point, we have less than three months until Little Miss O comes into the world. Well, unless she keeps us waiting.

Can we talk for a minute about self image in pregnancy? I know a lot of people struggle with how they look and how their body is changing. I’ll admit that sometimes I’m totally shocked by the changes in my appearance, but I’m going to be honest here… I love how I look while pregnant. I know that isn’t necessarily the norm, and I’m not saying this in any way to boast and brag. I don’t feel like the sexiest woman alive in any way, but I absolutely don’t mind the weight gain or huge belly. I love the way I look in (most of) my clothing. I love the way I feel. I’m just so grateful to feel this way. I thought I’d have a much harder time

Previous updates: 16 weeks, 20 weeks, 24 weeks

Things I’m Looking Forward to After the Baby

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I’ll be honest with you, I’m loving this pregnancy thing right now. The aches and pains are random and tolerable. The weird, but regular symptoms are totally manageable. My belly is definitely noticeable, but I’m not so large that I’m uncomfortable yet. The second trimester was totally incredible, folks. I just loved it. If you want me to be honest with you, I think I’m the super happy, excitable pregnant lady that people love to hate. Oh, well! I’ll just own it.

I just started third trimester of my pregnancy.

Just typing that feels incredible to me. There still isn’t really much that I’m craving, but occasionally I’ll think of something that I want, and I can’t have until baby gets here. Here’s a list of all the things I plan on doing or eating once Little Miss O gets here.

I’m looking forward to…

  • eating oysters.
  • sleeping on my belly.
  • eating soft cheeses.
  • drinking Lindeman’s Framboise.
  • eating Italian grinders.
  • batting practice at the baseball batting cages.
  • drinking mixed drinks like sangria or margaritas or mojitos.
  • fitting in some of my own clothes that I won’t be able to fit in for a while – hopefully.
  • meeting my baby in person!
  • eating sushi.

And while I can’t wait to eat or do some of these things, I honestly don’t want to rush being pregnant. I just want to enjoy this for everything it is right now.

Dos and Don’ts

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Recently, my friend San shared a post that was inspired by another post previously shared by my friend Nora. I figured that since both of these awesome ladies shared something like this, I might as well jump on the bandwagon and write my own.

I do…

+ love my sleep. I appreciate getting a full night of sleep, and yes, I know… I should appreciate it while I still have it.

+ love baseball season. Right now I’m loving getting back into serious baseball with my Red Sox. Not just that, but Wolverine just moved up to little league, and I’m pumped to watch his season.

+ love yard sales and flea markets. I’m looking forward to some bargain shopping this summer.

+ love to eat and snack.

+ love to celebrate people’s life events. I get very excited for wedding and pregnancy announcements, etc.

+ feel pretty good about my pregnant body and how it’s changed. Making a baby is incredible.

 

I don’t…

+ have any clue what life will be like once I have this baby. That is both terrifying and freeing at the same time.

+ know what to pack for my hospital bag when it’s delivery time.

+ know how to get my entire photo collection out of iPhoto. Can anyone help me? I’m also planning on purchasing Lightroom and Elements and I don’t know how to use either. Who wants to teach me?

+ want to get out of my bed on rainy day mornings.

+ have any interest in meal planning right now which is leading toward me and Mr. O being very unsure of what to eat for dinner every night.


What are some of your dos and don’ts?

One Little Word | 2015

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I start thinking of my one little word a few months before the year even begins. I’m serious – ask my friend Linsey. I’m always running my ideas by her. When I found out I was pregnant in November of 2014, I knew that I needed to put some effort in to choose the perfect word for 2015.

It’s funny – compared to recent years, coming up with my one little word for 2015 was relatively easy. I knew what it would be almost immediately, even though I really thought about it for a few additional weeks. I thought my word was too simple, but you know what – sometimes things are just meant to be simple. There’s a whole lot that’s going to be happening in my life this year, and a simple word to really focus in on is perfect.

You might think it’s funny that I’m just talking about this now in April. I actually thought I had blogged about my word of the year in the first week of January, until I went to link back to the post today and realized I had never discussed it. I know why too. I was too afraid about spilling the beans about our pregnancy that I just told myself to hold off on sharing anything.

Well there’s no need for that any longer. My one little word for 2015 is… grow.

In my first trimester, my mantra for the baby was “grow baby, grow baby, grow!” I’d think or say it all the time. As I watched my belly get larger, I’d be in awe of the growth. Even mentally, I’m learning so much. After the baby there will be so much change in my life that all I can simply do is grow with it all.

We’re already done with a quarter of 2015 –  can you believe it? – and I’m still loving my one special word.

Do you take part in one little word? I’d love to know. Tell me in the comments!

Currently in April 2015

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I’ve decided to move these posts back to mid-month, at least for a little while. In the past two months I felt like I was just repeating myself between this monthly post and my pregnancy update which usually was shared within days of each other. Maybe after the baby comes I’ll move this back to the end of the month – who knows?

 

Reading: Similar to last month, I’ve spent this month reading submissions for Spry Literary Journal. We hope to publish issue 06 sometime next month, so as you can imagine, I’ve been engrossed in the fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry and flash of writers from around the world. I honestly think this will be a very exciting issue, and I can’t wait to share it with you.

I haven’t done any reading for fun this week. I’m behind on the baby book I’m currently reading, and I just got a book from the Postal Book Club that I’ve been dying to dive into. I just haven’t found the chance yet.

 

Listening: semi-listening to the radio. There’s just been so much junk on the radio lately. I feel as if I keep getting commercials on every station, and I need to do something to change it. I started listening to podcasts again this week, and I’m hoping I can incorporate that more into my daily practice, rather than just listening to songs I don’t even like that much. I also brought my huge mix CD binder out to my car, and I’m hoping to listen to some oldies, but goodies soon.

 

Excited: that Wolverine’s baseball season begins this week. I love watching him play baseball, and I can’t wait for the games to begin.

 

Watching: most of the shows I actually watched on television have just ended for the season, so now it’s time to catch up on Netflix and Amazon Prime. I’ve been watching my way through this list of 10 true crime documentaries, and I definitely recommend that you do the same. So far I’ve watched “Dear Zachary,” “The Central Park Five,” and “Crazy Love.” If you’re only going to watch one of these videos, make it “Dear Zachary.” Whatever you do, don’t Google or do any research about the film before watching it. The movie is utterly heartbreaking and it moved me in a serious way. It’s a must watch.

 

Wearing: all maternity clothes. I can’t wait until I can break the dresses and flip flops out. I’m sure it’s coming real soon.

 

Wishing: I’m not too sure that I’m wishing for anything. I wish for fun snacks sometimes. I wish for beautiful weather. I wish for naps, though I never take them. That’s about it. My biggest wish is that this baby I’m growing remains healthy. I also wish my friends and family stay healthy as well.

 

Drinking: Water with lemon, orange juice, cranberry raspberry juice, regular water.

 

Loving: the weather. Spring has finally sprung. It’s mostly beautiful outside all the time. Even the colder days still feel so hopeful. I know it’s been over a month now since the time change, but I simply adore how light it is at night. This is my favorite time. I just feel so positive and pumped up.

 

Loathing: Bad drivers.

 

Admiring: my best friend who is due to deliver her second baby within the next month. Technically the baby is scheduled to come via c-section in the second week of May, but there is a very good chance she’ll deliver beforehand. The same thing goes for my blog friend Becky. I think the final month of pregnancy is so tough, and the waiting is excruciating. I can imagine that it takes so much patience to be where you ladies are, and I just want to give you both a virtual high five.

 

How is April treating you, pals? I hope you’re able to enjoy some of this spring weather!

Check out what I was doing, thinking, and feeling in JanuaryFebruary, and March.

Oh, I’ve just been writing online

A while back I shared some links of articles I had published elsewhere online. I figured since I’m publishing often and sharing to Twitter, I should also share it to the blog every once in a while. It’s been a while since I shared a post like this, so I might do another one mid-month to catch up.

Managing Writers When There Are Too Many Cooks In the Kitchen

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“Your company blog needs a strong head chef. Is that you?”






A Look Back at 9 Years of Twitter History

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“Twitter recently shared ten of their most influential Tweets in the past nine years. Do you remember seeing any of these when they were posted?”

 

 

How to Set a Realistic Editorial Deadline

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“No one should ever be the bottleneck in projects. Ever. Hit your deadlines.”

 





Be friends with the President! Barack Obama is on Twitter

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“Are you wondering if the leader of the United States of America has enough spare time to Tweet for himself?”

 

 

 

 

Where Have Amanda’s Hands Been?

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“Our lesson for you is simple: If you share your images online, be prepared to wind up in unexpected places.”

 

 

 

 

Using Poetweet on Famous Writers’ Twitter Accounts

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“Have you heard of Poetweet yet? It is an incredible website which will turn your Tweets into poetry. Seriously!”

 

 

 

 

Using Facebook for Real Estate Marketing Can Be Totally Awesome

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“50% of consumers value a brand’s Facebook page more than its website. So what you post there, is who you are.”

 

 

 

Our 10 Favorite Celebrity First Tweets

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“Now, even though I enjoy cyber stalking early Tweets, it can get frustrating to scroll through thousands of Tweets just to make your way to the bottom. That is until Twitter launched an option where you can read anyone’s first Tweets. Now a lot less work goes has to go into my creeping. Thank you, Twitter.”

 

 

 

5 Most Productive Writing Habits of Famous Writers

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“When I was in my graduate writing program, we were required to read the work of great writers. In addition to this, we read books on craft and wrote essays studying the craft of great poets and authors. Why?”