Reinventing Erin

Currently in September

ceb687ebc711fc850509de359daa4b3aReading: Spry Literary Journal submissions and only Spry Literary Journal submissions. Our reading period closes after 9/30, which means we are getting an influx of submissions. So much great writing is coming through the submissions manager, and I couldn’t be happier.

Listening: to books on CDs while I drive to work. Currently I’m listening to Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt. I only own two audiobooks (which I’ve already listened to during graduate school), so I need to purchase more. I really like listening to them during my commute. Does anyone have any suggestions on where I can purchase cheap audiobooks? I don’t want to break the bank, but I would like some new ones.

Excited: that so many people I know are getting pregnant. I love babies.

Watching: Blacklist. We are on the 3rd episode of Season 1, but I’m really enjoying it so far.

Wearing: Still holding on strong to my flip flops. I’ll probably keep them until the end of October if possible, but I just love flip flop season.

Wishing: For a few extra hours of sleep or down time every day.

Drinking: Sangria. Coffee. Water. Cranberry and grape juice.

Loving: that I finally finished and mailed out my wedding thank you cards.

Loathing: All the noises from the construction at work lately. I try to be patient, because obviously they are working too, but it can get loud.

Admiring: Wolverine. He just won MVP of his Minor League baseball team, and they said a little speech about why he won. I’m so very proud.

Check out: JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJune, July, August

The Writing Process Blog Tour

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 5.47.34 PMI love brunch. Everything about the combination of breakfast and lunch just feels so right to me. But besides the meal, there is another brunch I love – the It’s Just Brunch Blog. The awesome creators of this writing website are three of my graduate school peers I really admire. All three were recently tagged by Sonya Huber, a nonfiction extraordinaire, to complete the Writing Process blog tour. Zac then tagged me to be the next stop, and if Zac tells you to do something, you just do it.

 

What are you working on?
I’m working on writing essays. Not a collection of essays, but just one essay at a time (though I’m working on many of them).
For so long after I graduated, I stressed about publishing a collection or a memoir. I knew my thesis wasn’t ready to send to an agent or editor, but I was honestly just tired of working on it, so I stopped. Do you know what happened at that point? I didn’t write anything – at all.
It’s very easy to be a writer who doesn’t write. Have you ever tried it? You do a lot of thinking about writing. You do a lot of looking at blank pages. You do a lot of thinking about things you could write (if you were to write which you obviously aren’t doing). It’s even easier to not write when you’re the editor of a literary journal. You’re involved in writing. You’re curating a journal! You’re editing the work of other writers! This must mean it’s okay to not be writing, right? Wrong. It means you dry up (and by “you” of course I mean me). You won’t know where or how or when to start again. You’ll feel hopeless – like a failure. Until you try again, and you must always try again. It’s hard to wake the muse up, but once she has risen you’ll develop a rhythm again. This is all to say: I’m going easy on myself. Instead of all the pressure, I’m just focusing on enjoying the process of writing, and man, I like it this way so much more.

 

How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I’m not sure it completely differs from the rest of the genre, but something I do well is writing an honest, self-deprecating narrator.

 

Why do you write what you do?

I’m not sure. I write stories that I feel are important to me. I think it is important to understand your perspective when writing. When I started graduate school, my perspective was much different than it is now. I was single then. I worked two jobs seven days a week, easily working almost 70 hours a week, spending little time with my friends and family. I was trying to absorb as much as I could of my schoolwork. Now, I’m a stepmom, a wife, an editor. My views have changed over time. Can I write now about how I felt when I was 24? Of course I can. But I think there is something important about writing in the present. Writing about what is real to you in the moment has some power. I’m trying to harness what is real to me now – in the moment – and see if it is publishable. If it isn’t, I keep it in a folder for a while, and maybe it will be worthy in the future…maybe not.

 

How does your writing process work?
I wish I could say I have a consistent process right now. My writing consists of jotting down notes or memories when they come to me. Once an idea emerges, I spend some time crafting the story. What am I trying to do in this story? Who is my audience? Why is this story important? Is it important? As much as I wish it were different, I live by the “shitty first draft.”
Man, I have written some bad stuff, but I just can’t stop. This usually means I overwrite. I write so much junk, and I’m stuck cutting a lot of what I’ve written. I hate that. Tossing words seems so wrong. much of what I’ve written isn’t working, which I understand. A lot of writing essays is just playing with the words. Once you find the combination that works is when the story is complete.

 Now I tag: Allie Marini Batts

My Life at 30

Photo on 9-5-14 at 1.41 PMToday I woke up in a new decade of my life.

I barely recognize the Erin of one year ago. I have a new name, a new job, a husband, and a stepson.

And I am so grateful.

I started this year with the intention to be better Erin. I’m really proud of how I’ve grown in 2014, and how I’ve experienced life. Even though I’ve barely written much this year, I’ve been thinking about how to be more intentional here, and have decided to post “who I am” once a month.

On 30: Day One
Wolverine is back to school and playing fall ball, so our little family is getting used to the change in routine. Earlier bedtimes, new school, completing homework… I love this season of starting fresh.

Work is still great. I’m learning more and writing more. Some days are easy, some days are a struggle, but I’m developing a routine and that feels good. I feel so fortune to work with coworkers that I enjoy spending my time with. They surprised me with an ice cream cake and balloons on my birthday. It just feels nice to be part of a team.

I love my husband. We’re just shy of three months of marriage. He’s the best.

The weather is already getting cooler. I love the weather, but I’m already dreading the winter.

I’m so excited about pumpkin coffee and my cold brew coffee maker.

Spry is awesome as always. That journal rocks my world. We are reading submissions until the end of the month and then we will curate our fifth issue.

What I’m looking forward to in the first full month of my thirties: Wolverine’s baseball banquet. Finalizing Spry’s next issue. Fall ball. Mr. O’s birthday. Trying to bargain-shop for Christmas presents early. Buying baby shower gifts for my best friend. Getting more efficient at work. Pumpkin coffee. Keeping my fingers crossed that the traffic eases up at work.

Currently in August

Reading: 6ba44ef01d9750cfb0177c86580b1b40Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott

Listening: to my old iPod and the super cool music I had on there.

Excited: for my upcoming 30th birthday

Watching: Tosh.0 season 2 on Amazon.

Wearing: I forgot that last month I was giving my clothes one last chance. I’m going to start that again now!

Wishing: I hope the weather stays like this for a very long time. The sun is warm, but the breeze is cool. I have no interest in winter, but I do love this weather.

Drinking: Trying to get even more water in my system every day.

Loving: my husband, Mr. O. He is such a stud.

Loathing: Disagreements. I try to live a very conflict-free life, so it is tough to have some things be unsettled.

Admiring: My coworkers. I feel so fortunate to work with such incredible people. Check us out here.

Check out: JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJune, July

Losing My Last Name

This post “Losing My Last Name” originally appeared on May 22, 2014 at The Hooray Collective. Go over there to see the incredible work they are doing.

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In 23 days I am getting married.

The next time you hear from me, I will go by a different name. While my first and middle name will remain the same, my last name will have changed. I’ll have a new driver’s license (with brown hair, not blonde like my current license) and a new last name. Once I become Mrs. O, I’ll now fall in the middle of the alphabet, and I’ll have to listen for a new name to be called when I pick up prescriptions.

And I consider this a very beautiful thing.

I’m looking forward to sharing a last name with the man I love. I look forward to sharing my step-son’s last name with him as well.

But yet…

I’ll miss my last name.

I’ll miss the connection it gives me to my parents and my brothers and my nieces and nephews. I’ll miss the connection it gives me to my grandmother and grandfather who are no longer with us. I recognize myself as Miss C. Soon, I won’t be her any longer.

I’ve always wanted to change my last name when I got married so that I’d share a name with my husband. So this was an easy decision for me. I just didn’t expect to feel so nostalgic about my current last name. I toyed with keeping it as a middle name, but what would I do with my current middle name? In the end, I chose to just switch last names, and say goodbye to my maiden name.

I can’t be the only person who has experienced this nostalgia before. How did you all feel when you changed your name?

Currently In July

Reading: The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte

Listening: to the mix CD our wedding DJ gave to us after the reception.

Excited: to be traveling with my coworkers to North Conway, NH for work next week.

Watching: Netflix: Lost and Crimes of the Century. I finished season two of House of Cards, and as soon as we finish Lost, we can start season two of Orange is the New Black!

Wearing: Trying to wear items in my closet that go unworn often. If I don’t like it on, then it’s time to donate. So basically, I’m giving things one last chance.

Wishing: I could relive our entire wedding. It was such a happy, beautiful night.

Drinking: Coffee.

Loving: Our new couple’s journal, my new journal, and seeing pictures from the wedding. I also LOVE that it has been over two years now since my dad’s heart attack, and that he is healthy and happy.

Loathing: Unclean and unorganized places. Cluttered brain.

Admiring: the members of my literary community. I’m witnessing such incredible things lately. Contributors of Spry are doing big things in their personal career. Spry’s getting excellent submissions. I’ve gotten two essays published recently. Everything is just going really well in the lit world and I love it.

 

Check out: JanuaryFebruaryMarchApril, May, June

Currently In June

Reading: Wedding cards and notes from the kind folk who attended our wedding yesterday.

Listening: to the mix CD our wedding DJ gave to us after the reception last night.

Excited: to be the new Mrs. O!

Watching: a PawSox game for Father’s Day.

Wearing: Oh, let’s just make this a completely wedding themed post! Yesterday I wore my wedding dress (yahooooo!) and today, Mr. O and I (and Wolverine) are wearing our matching “Just Married” tattoos!

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Wishing: I could relive our entire wedding. It was such a happy, beautiful night.

Drinking: Champagne. Getting ready to drink a lot of booze during my honeymoon.

Loving: How low stress and happy this month has been so far. I love that in just a couple days I will be in Aruba on my honeymoon.

Loathing: When it is less than 24 hours since you were pronounced husband and wife (and it also happens to be Father’s day!), how can you loath anything?

Admiring: my new husband, my new stepson, and all the wonderful people in our lives who came out to celebrate our marriage yesterday.

 

Check out: JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMay

 

Currently in May

Reading: Blogs and social media feeds to learn about voice and trends in content writing.

Listening: My radio is filled with  commercials lately, so it feels like that’s all I’ve been listening to. Oh, and our wedding song on the radio. When we picked it last year, no one knew anything about it. Now the whole world loves it. Boo.

Excited: that my wedding is in less than a month. That also makes me incredibly nervous as well, but in the grand scheme of things, I think I am one of the most relaxed brides in the world. I never thought I’d be a relaxed bride. I mean, I didn’t think I’d be a bridezilla either, but I didn’t think I’d be so chill either.

Watching: Wolverine’s baseball games after work and on weekends and Lost before bed. Mr. O never watched Lost, so it is our new go-to show while we wait for Walking Dead, Hell on Wheels and Orange is the New Black to get back on Netflix.

Wearing: Flip flops

Wishing: I could relive our bachelor/bachelorette party again. It was so much fun. I was so worried about being an old tired lady, but we stayed up so late and had so much fun with our friends. It was such a great time.

Drinking: A few throwback drinks from my college days-Malibu and pineapple and rum and diet coke. Mr. O also makes a mean margarita. But mostly, all I really drink is water during the day.

Loving: My preview photo my photographer shared online from our engagement shoot. I can’t wait to see the rest of them.

Loathing: Not sleeping through the night. I’ve either been tossing and turning or sleeping with an active brain, and I don’t like that. I really love to rest, so not sleeping well messes me all up.

Admiring: My friends and family. I’ve got really great people in my life.

 

Check out: January, February, March, April

Bridal Shower Reflections

First, Happy Cinco De Mayo! Enjoy a margarita with good tequila today.

 

Next, let’s talk about my bridal shower! Seeing as it has been one month today since I was showered with kindness from friends and family, it is as good a time as any to talk about how much I enjoyed my shower.

My shower was thrown by my mom and Mr. O’s mom, with the help of my incredible bridesmaids.
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This is is my lovely wedding party. My two maids-of-honor are the most far-right ladies, and the other five (four in real life and one in picture form) are my bridesmaids.

I’ll be honest, I was pretty nervous about this bridal shower. While I love giving gifts, and truly enjoy receiving gifts, something about being the gift-getter just makes me real nervous. I always feel so awkward opening gifts in front of people, and I just just really worried about it all. It isn’t that I’m not appreciative in any way, I just get nervous.

Plus, after being a bridesmaid a billion times, I’ve been to my fair share of bridal showers (and many more baby showers too). No matter what, they’re pretty boring for the guests, and since I worry about everyone else so much, I was so worried about my guests being bored.

But everything turned out so perfect. The centerpieces were beautiful! The cupcakes (in a form of a dress) were so yummy. The brunch was excellent.The games were fun (and funny) and actually went by so quickly. There were so many gifts, and I opened them quickly, and actually had fun doing so. (Does this mean I no longer have a fear of opening gifts in front of people? Because if that is true, everybody buy me presents!) Honestly, it was perfect.

I’m so grateful for my bridesmaids and my moms for throwing me this lovely party. It went by so fast, and I’d do it all over again if I could.

 

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May 2014 Goals

20140502-164336.jpgThis month, I hope to accomplish many things, but really, they all fall under the same goal:

Finish EVERYTHING that needs to be done before the wedding in May. Leave nothing for June.

The only exception to this goal is my wedding flowers, which I’ll be doing myself (with one of my bridesmaid’s assistance), because, well, obviously you can’t do flowers six weeks in advance or they will wilt and die and smell.

I’ll be sure to do a follow-up post to go over the list of items I’d like to accomplish, but until then, it is definitely time to get to work.

 

April 2014 Goal Update

Well, I started the month with what felt like four manageable, yet slightly reaching goals. Remember this:

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Well, friends, here is my honest progress report.

 

  • “Walk 30 miles. Lofty goal? (I hope not) But I already walked one today, so I only have 29 left to go.”
    Well. I hate to disappoint you, but I didn’t meet the goal. Whomp, whomp. I did pretty good though, in that I walked 12 treadmill miles in April. For someone who walked 2.5 miles in March, zero in February, and 7 in January, I think the 13 in April is quite successful.

 

  • Work on some professional goals.

I did wonderful with this goal. I just can’t really speak on the changes quite yet. If we are friends on Facebook, then I’m sure you   know what is happening, but if not, it will hopefully be revealed here in the very near future.

Actually, I should continue. I know exactly what I had in mind when I wrote this goal on 4/1/14 (the secret above), but I’ve also done some great things with other professional goals too. Spry has just launched the fourth issue. We’ve published some incredible writers and poets and I do hope you’ll check it out. I’ve also done some interviews for Spry and also scheduled a mini-series which will be published between issues. I really rocked it professionally this month.

  • Write 35 more small stories/essays.

Nothing happened here. I think a lot of the reason I didn’t get to any of my own writing was that I was hyper-focused on the writing of everyone else (as the editing and publication period for Spry was this month). I did start writing some ideas to work on, but nothing has stuck quite yet.

  • Spring clean my entire apartment (and trash or donate what I do not need)

Again, another laughable effort here. My apartment is quite clean, like always, but I didn’t get a chance to power clean. Honestly, I don’t think that this will happen until after the honeymoon, so it looks like this will turn into summer cleaning!

Stay tuned tomorrow for May’s goals!

Better Posture Now and Pudge Be Gone!

I never realized until the past year how bad my posture now is. At work, I hover over my desk. While standing, I slouch or lean.

My poor core is so under-appreciated and not strong. When I started yoga last summer (which was apparently a summer activity seeing as I haven’t done any yoga in months), I was shocked to see how much I needed a solid core, and how weak mine was. I have a small frame, yet because of the way I stand (aka slouch), my poor little tummy sticks out. I mean, like I look like a chubster, which is all fine and dandy until someone asks you if you’re pregnant…and your not. Thank you very much.

I’ve needed to lose some belly pudge for a while, but this post really isn’t about that. It’s about the fact that in the year I’ve been semi-consistently working out, I’ve realized how important my core is to my physical strength and to my well-being, and my core isn’t where it needs to be. I want to be healthy, and I want my back to be straight and not hunched as I “grow up.”

I’ve been looking for (easy) workouts that I can do to strengthen these areas. I’d love to improve my posture now while I’m young.

I’d love to hear some ideas if you guys have any!

To My Future Husband: I’m No Longer The Girlfriend

Hello love,

Here we are in a new stage of our relationship. It’s temporary, a middle ground between two different points in our life. We were once boyfriend and girlfriend. We will soon be husband and wife. For now though, we are fiance and fiancée. We are in this very short transitional period in our relationship, and I don’t know what to do with it.

I find myself  still introducing you as my “boyfriend.” When we were first engaged, I tried to fit the term “fiance” into conversations. I loved the idea of calling you my fiance; I wanted the world to know we had changed paths and were moving forward in a different direction. But when I hear myself say it out loud, I felt silly. I felt as if I should be saying it with an accent, and only when saying something extremely important.

And that–feeling silly calling you by your new term–is silly in its own regard.

There are only eight months (and one day) from the date of our engagement to the date of the wedding. It’s a short precious time, and I want to own our new fleeting status. As of today, there are only 54 days until we change titles again. We will move from fiance and fiancée to husband and wife, and that is where I hope we will remain forever.

So from this day forward, I commit to pushing past my title fear and calling you my fiance. You are no longer my boyfriend. That was a beautiful time in our lives that I will forever be grateful for, but that time has passed. For now, ever how brief, you are my wonderful fiance.

With my greatest love,

Your fiancée

 

20 Weeks

In twenty weeks, I will turn 30 years old, and enter a new decade of my life.

I’m actually pretty excited by this. I’ve never had the turning-30 fear that most of my friends have experienced. It doesn’t stress me out or make me feel old. In my world, the first 25 years were about figuring out who I am, and since then, things have just gotten better and better. I feel like I’m going into my thirties with a great grasp of who I am, where I am in life, and who and where I want to be.

But the closer I get to 30, the more I want to create an awesome ending to my twenties.

Seeing as how I’m at my 20 week mark, I figured now would be a good time to celebrate the end of my twenties. Over the next twenty weeks, I’m going to do a weekly post celebrating my twenties. For each of the first ten posts, I’ll be focusing on each year of my 20s. From there, I’ll post about the most memorable moments of this past decade.

And then… I’ll be 30, and starting a brand new chapter.