Hey Lou Writes

The Grey Matters


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My Dream is My Plan “A” (Thanks Mom and Dad)

This post is dedicated to my parents. Not only are they the most iconic, beautiful people who had the best photos taken of them … they are also genuine and supportive and they have taught me more in life than I could have dreamed possible.

dreams, living your dreams, not giving up, parents

my dad- senior year of college

parents, dreams, living

my mom- around the age of 25 and my sister Jessica

Have you ever heard anyone talk about what they’d really love to do… like become an artist, a journalist, a glassblower… whatever it is! More often then not, they have a “regular” job they aren’t too happy with and they consider this dream of theirs to be plan B.

“If things go well… if all the planets line up…if I get lucky, etc.”

Here I am today saying that if you don’t consider your DREAM TO BE YOUR PLAN A, then you aren’t dreaming in the right way. It’s entirely true. It’s as cliche as the day is long, but you guys, we only live once. One time. Uno. One go around – and it’s up to us to make the most of it.

My parents have always taught me this. They’ve also taught me that money can buy you ZERO happiness. Zero. Having enough love to support you throughout your day is what we all need. They’ve taught me that, too.

And if that isn’t enough, do the old “When I’m 80” test.

When I’m 80, I do not want to look back at my 9-5 (unless that’s my dream- which I know for some people, it is) and wonder why I was willing to sit under a florescent light (think Joe vs the Volcano…) and go through papers and not move throughout the day. When I’m 80 it won’t matter if I spent up to a year in my 20’s very poor, hungry and not sure of what was to come next. It WILL matter if I wasted it and became unhealthy and unhappy and unfulfilled in the process. 

Think about that. It doesn’t even take the “when I’m 80” test sometimes. Sometimes all I have to do is think, One year from now, will this matter? 

When Greg and I stay up late and drink coffee and chat under Christmas tree lights -because we have a Christmas tree up all year round- this is usually what we’re talking about. I imagine my parents did the exact same thing when they had all these surprise daughters, a pastor’s paycheck, and rice and beans. They were the poorest of the poor… but they say they’d have it no other way. They started out living in a rented basement. They had my older sister way sooner than planned. My dad still became a pastor. They made things work. They were skin and bone, quite frankly. But they had love.

my mom, pregnant (both age 24)

my mom, pregnant (both age 24)

This is something that brings tears to my eyes. I get very emotional, realizing that my parents are REAL people. Have you had the same epiphany? In these photos, my parents are MY AGE or younger. They were once in their early 20’s and they had dreams, worries, and they were scared of making  mistakes and raising a family.

Sometimes I look at these pictures and it just hits me how similar I am to them. Right now, this very day, I am so much like my parents. It’s hard to believe they were once my age. They once had a life without Melinda. They cried when they found out they were having twins (partly because of happiness, partly because they had no idea how that would work.)

they still enjoyed a little wine, like we ALL have to do

they still enjoyed a little wine, like we ALL have to do

Because my own parents have such a rich story, one that I love to hear and one that I don’t mind living in my own way (being poor and young and in love), I have a certain way I want to live my life.

I’m BLESSED enough to have parents who support what I want to do. Never once, not ONCE, have they told me that I should consider such and such job, because it would pay well. Instead, they hear me say I want to be a writer and they say, “Okay. You better spend plenty of time and effort on it, then. We believe in you. As long as you are doing what you love and what God have given you as a spiritual gift.” They are really big on that- spiritual gifts. I truly believe that mine is writing. My sister and husband are in a band; their spiritual gifts are obviously music.

I told Greg long ago I’d never ask him to get a job that meant wearing a tie. That means a whole number of things, but most importantly, Greg hates wearing ties. That’s one way we keep ourselves happy. He supports my writing enough to tell me, “Don’t get a 9-5… if you’re working full time, make sure it’s something you love. Focus on your writing. Spend time on it every day. It will be worth it.”

Today I read Amanda’s blog over at The Lady Okie and it really got me thinking. I am in a similar situation as she is… I’m about to be unemployed. It’s scary.

But that’s what happens when you drop everything for a farming internship that pays next to zero, and then they don’t have winter work. That’s kind of how the farming world works. I wanted to be outside and learn… and now, well, that part of my life is about to be over. For the first time ever I don’t have the next job lined up. I’m choosing to believe that this is one of those Blessings In Disguise my mom is ALWAYS talking about. More time to write, right? More time to read… right? If I really spent 8+ hours a day on my DREAM, then being unemployed would probably pay off in the end.

In the meantime, I don’t mind having no extra money. I don’t mind following in the footsteps of my parents and drinking cheap wine with Greg over a meal we planted out in our garden. We’re taking time to spend less. We’re enjoying more that way. It’s surprising, isn’t it? The less you have, the more you enjoy things.

Talk about a blessing in disguise.

before there was the twins....

before there was the twins….

Plus, having no money builds character. Kind of like going through an ugly duckling phase in middle school. Yup, built all my character. ;)

I refuse to stop writing just to get a job that’ll solve all of our money problems. I am willing to sacrifice now so that when I’m 80 or older, I’ll  look back and smile and say, “Wow, I really went for it, didn’t I?” I want to take that risk because without risks, what is life, anyway? A flat line means dead. Let’s spice it up a little and have our highs and lows, because that means we’re alive. (think hospital monitors…)

And if you are blessed to have parents like mine, that’s awesome. Let’s get together and talk about how awesome they are. If you have always had issues with your parents pushing you toward something you aren’t passionate about, then let me be the person to tell you that life is too short and precious to waste on something that doesn’t give you a reason to wake up in the morning with a smile.

You Only Live Once doesn’t mean taking crazy stupid risks and living in the moment. That’s selfish. It means taking care, believing in yourself and others, and trusting that it will all be okay. It means working hard to achieve a goal. It means being true.

Thanks Mom and Dad, for teaching me this. I love you guys so much.

iconic

iconic

today :)

today :)

Love,

the appreciative Lou

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LIVE Like Your Life Depends On It (How I Want To LIVE)

If you missed my Eat Like Your Life Depends On It posts, you can catch up here:

ELYLDOT (Which It Does)

ELYLDOT (How I Used To Eat)

ELYLDOT (How I Began To Eat)

ELYLDOT (How I Got Overwhelmed)

life, organic eating, healthy, happy

Kate Burn Photography

I’m writing about all of this because food, health, local and organic growing has become a passion of mine in the last few years. I care about what people eat, how it’s grown, how the animals we eat are raised and the impact that big agriculture has on our environment and health.

But I never, ever, want to sound preachy or know-it-ally. That’s my worst nightmare.

Which is why, I think, I have avoided writing the next post. Yes, avoided. Can you believe it? Each day I thought to myself, eh, I can write this tomorrow.  Write WHAT tomorrow, though?

Maybe I’ll share what a typical week of eating looks like? Maybe I’ll write more about the books I read that led me to eating this way. Maybe I’ll mention again how I don’t have a TV and how much better I believe my life is for it.

Maybe I’ll write nothing?

Nothing wasn’t an option. Partly because I got an e-mail from my future novel. Partly because I’m home sick today and all I have is time, tissue, and hot beverages to distract me. I knew this day would come eventually, and then I got inspired by a friend (which always happens at the most poignant of times.) My friend Jenny over at JenEric Generation posted a blog about change and not being afraid to make your blog, or life, a little bit different than it used to be. I refuse to fall into the puddle of despair!

So maybe I’ll write about all of these things, and have fun while doing it. Here we go.

More than a few people asked me to write about what I eat. This was exciting for me because it’s not like I get a crazy amount of comments or concerns or questions revolving around Hey Lou… but the ones I do get mean so much to me that I could burst.

WHAT I EAT

Don’t be disappointed, okay? I have started cooking almost all of my food, but that doesn’t mean I’m some awesome cook. I’m often told I didn’t use enough salt. I’m often told to change it up a little bit. But here are some truths:

1) I am entirely content eating the exact same thing for up to three weeks (or more). If I find something I love, I’ll just get in a groove and make it every day. Some people need more variety. I am not one of those people.

2) I don’t need a crazy amount of salt or sweetener to enjoy something. I know a girl who literally brings a sweet potato, a tiny container of peanut butter, a slice of cabbage, and a hard boiled egg for lunch. She loves to taste each thing on its own. I think that’s lovely and amazing. I don’t do quite that, but I can also use the yolk of an egg to add flavor and texture, rather than make a dressing for a salad…

3) I love to do this. Some people don’t. However, I didn’t used to love it. I learned to love it.

Recently, I’ve been able to get tons of potatoes. I get my produce primarily from my harvest box from Skarsgard, where I’m doing a farming internship, and there have been tons of potatoes for pick up, and you can even double up on that option in most cases. (Bonus to anyone who understands that lingo. Double Up Option, anyone?) ANYWAY. I have tons of potatoes. What do I do with them?

Here’s what I’ve had for breakfast and lunch for about three weeks now:

(this is a recipe that I split up for both meals, so cut in half if you want this for ONE meal)

Ingredients:

4-5 potatoes, diced

1 onion, diced

3-4 chard, kale, or collard leaves (or throw in any green you want!) sliced or chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 zucchini, sliced (or bell peppers, carrots, or anything else I happen to have at the moment)

2 eggs

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:

Heat up a pan with the EVOO and first add the “hardest” ingredients. I always add the onion first in any recipe. Then the potatoes. Then the carrots or bell peppers or zucchini, whichever I am adding.

***Here’s a very simple trick: You’re cooking this stuff in oil, right? A great way to “steam” these items and quicken up the softening process is to have your LID ready, pour in a small amount of water, and cover with the lid quickly. It will spurt all over your kitchen and you if you don’t cover. But with the cover on, the elements in your pan will kind of go nuts, and in the process, everything will get steamed in a way that turns out awesome. Just wait a minute until everything settles down. This doesn’t take too much water. 

I let these cook for a while. I like the potatoes to be black on some spots, I love for some onion to be slightly burned. I’ll use a fork to test the potatoes and carrots. Once everything is the way YOU want it, add your tomatoes and greens. These will cook and soften right away. 

Lastly, add your egg. I like to make a hole in the middle of the pan, add more EVOO, and throw the egg in and scramble it in the center, then eventually mix it all together.

Occasionally, I’ll add a pinch of salt or soy sauce or curry. Occasionally.

Seriously, that’s it. Want another one? Okay. I’ll give you another one.

Ingredients:

arugula, a giant handful

lemon juice, half a lemon

peas, frozen or fresh

1 egg

Directions:

Lay down your arugula. heat up the peas, pour over greens. Squeeze on the lemon juice. Cook your egg over easy and add to the salad.

It’s that easy! Folks, I ate this arugula breakfast for, NO JOKE, three months. I felt more energized than ever before. I noticed my thighs feeling a little bit… tighter. You know what I mean. To this day, I cannot eat oatmeal or cereal or a muffin for breakfast. I eat vegetables, and always with some sort of leafy green. And almost always with an egg (or two.)

Instead of just laying down a solid week of eating, I’ll give you a few recipes in each post (or every few posts, whichever happens naturally!) Sound good? Good!

On to other topics. Did anyone notice how I named this blog LIVE Like Your Life Depends On It, rather than Eat? That was due to good ol’ Jenny’s blog, and I decided to change it … just because it felt right. Eating is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to have a great life, but it’s the way we live out our days that matter most.

life, living, healthy, passions

Kate Burn Photography

If you start off your day with vegetables (preferably organic, because who wants to start off their day with chemicals?), a walk, or some sort of movement, how could you have a bad day? That rude customer won’t seem to vile. That guy who cut you off on the highway must be having a bad day, but you sure aren’t. See what I mean? These changes happened for me little by little until one day, I was just an all around positive person. I have my “bad” days but they are rare. For the most part I’d rather laugh at a stupid joke while eating a great home-cooked meal, while pondering my next writing adventure…

WHICH LEADS ME TO THE E-MAIL I RECEIVED FROM MY FUTURE NOVEL.

It might be because the online writing group I’m a part of sends out e-mails of this kind to inspire, but I prefer to think that How We Lost Our Minds actually sent me a message from the future. From: YOUR NOVEL. Message: PLEASE WRITE ME THIS NOVEMBER.

I’m almost done with How We Lost Our Minds, so maybe this is from the next project. I still haven’t decided. It could be from the much better, clearly organized and edited, version of the current one. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. After all, November isn’t that far away.

Even more than I cannot live without organic food and partaking in growing that food, I cannot live without writing. It’s why I have this blog. It’s why I’m trying to get published… and why I’ll never give up.

I want to live in this way because it’s the only way I know to be healthy and content.

You guys, if you don’t have a passion, that is probably what you need to change before you even think about what you’re cooking for your next meal. Without something to stay alert and active and healthy for, then a meal is just a meal. It isn’t charging you up for the life you want, is it? This is me trying to hard not to be preachy, but to be inspirational. I’ve shared with you all how unhappy I was before I changed the way I eat, but I realized that at almost the exact same time I changed my eating lifestyle, I also began to WRITE.

They went hand in hand. They are both such a large part of my life, that I’d be lost without the other.

I can’t explain why loving my characters and what they go through connects so strongly with what I put into my body, but it does.

What do YOU have that is worth staying healthy for? What changes have you made? Who do you want to inspire?

How are you LIVING like your LIFE depends on it?

I’d love to know :)

Love, LOU


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A Chicken Enters A Kitchen…

DISTRACTIONS

chickens, writing distractions, writing

Kate Burn Photography

There are many. I sit down to write, and …

a chicken scratches at the door. (That’s Ray Bradbury, the Barred Plymouth Rock chicken.)

a zucchini calls out for me to go pick it and cook it up for dinner. (I swear, my garden veggies do this. Don’t yours?)

a book flies open in the wind, beckoning for me to read it. (There are NEVER enough hours in the day when it comes to reading time.)

chickens, writing, distractions

Kate Burn Photography

Tonight I will master these. I will write. I will write a word… then a sentence… then a paragraph… and eventually, well, I’ll have another novel to try to publish. Send me concentration vibes. I just might need them.

writing, chickens, distractions

Kate Burn Photography

Love, Lou


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If You’re Going To Be A Writer…

…you should probably consider marrying someone who is slightly obsessed with coffee. Not just making coffee or drinking it, but knowing the beans, learning how to roast, and brewing it in at least 5 different ways.

coffee, writing, marriage, roasting

there’s ray

Or, marriage aside, learn to do all this yourself. You just can’t go back to drip or those weird little cups after experiencing the real thing.

Because like me, you might know that having a cup of coffee or tea is just about the nicest way to start a day off. Why is this? I think it’s because it’s warm and cozy (even in the summer), tastes great, and is equally nice to enjoy alone or with someone.

I love drinking coffee on my own. I love drinking it with Greg even more. (And that’s only partly because I usually mess up the measurements somehow.)

This morning my dear hubs roasted his own green beans for the first time. And it worked like a charm.

coffee, roasting, marriage, writing

the green beans

roasting coffee, marriage, writing

roaster and beans afterwards

coffee, roasting, marriage, writing

Greg!

After a morning like this, a writer should surely be able to bust out at least one poem.

And if that’s not enough… grow some flowers. And get a chicken that is cuter than pie.

coffee, flowers, roasting, chickens, marriage, writing

lovely! When I drink my coffee, I look at these.

chicken, coffee, roasting, marriage, writing

Harvey’s cute butt

Happy Tuesday everyone. Try to step out of your coffee comfort zone and brew in a new way today!

Love, Lou


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Tear Down to Build Up

Some thoughts recently:

Even though this got me down, I realized that all I needed to do was refocus. I got rejected. So what. I’m a writer and that’s part of the process.

I hate to admit that the taste of success, followed by the rejection, really did affect me. I haven’t written nearly as much as I should have. Plus, with that Blog Every Day In May Challenge… I was giving all of my focus to the blog, and very little to my fiction/short story/novel writing. I realized I had to start over. I had to just let things go…. I had to stop, drop, and sit back and relax. I took a short blog break. I took a sort-of writing break altogether, but I’m back in action.

During that time I:

Chopped off all of my hair. It’s one of the most refreshing, liberating, and confidence-boosting things I’ve ever chosen to do. Yay!

short hair, change, the pickaxe

I’m loving it.

pixie cut, the pickaxe, change, tear down

me and mah books

 

Began a new book. It’s very personal in some ways, and just the book I’d like to pick up and read (which they say is the way to do it, so, yay again!) Some parts have been difficult to write, & I am finding myself writing out plot lines, character details, and chapter by chapter notes for the first time. I think this is a good sign. (though it’s by no means super organized. Read here about why that is.) I’ve had fun making up the (tragic) scenarios, because although the book might feel personal, it is very different from the life I live. That’s the beauty of a book. You never know what lead the author to writing it, what he or she took from real life, and what came from simply listening to a song. Ahhhh, the beauty of secrets.

writing, organization, notes, the pickaxe

I’ll never be completely organized, but this is a start!

I got a new job!!! Well, internship. I gave my two weeks at the bakery (which is really almost a month, since this starts in mid-august), and starting soon I will be interning (full time!) with Skarsgard Farms here in Albuquerque. I am SO EXCITED and SO READY to take on a new challenge. (Come visit me at the market!)

This will be me, not just at home, but at work:

garden, albuquerque, local, organic, produce

out in the garden

Those are the highlights of the changes in my life.

Oh, and I also thought I’d be giving you all a summer reading list update every Sunday. I realized that goal was a little too burdensome for me. Now, I’ll just be doing those at random. But don’t think I’ve been slacking off, either. I finished two books in the last two weeks, I’m reading two right now, and I still have two more for book club. (Ask me how I have so much time to read, and we’ll have a real conversation, oh boy!)

I have been relating to a poem of Rumi’s lately, so I’ll leave you with that. Maybe it’ll speak to you in the same way.

The Pickaxe

Rumi

Some commentary on I was a hidden treasure,

and I desired to be known: tear down

this house. A hundred thousand new houses

can be built from the transparent yellow carnelian

buried beneath it, and the only way to get to that

is to do the work of demolishing and then

digging beneath the foundations. With that value

in hand all the new construction will be done

without effort. And anyway, sooner or later this house

will fall on its own. The jewel treasure will be

uncovered, but it will not be yours then. The buried

wealth is your pay for doing the demolition,

the pick and shovel work. If you wait and just

let it happen, you’d bite your hand and say,

“I didn’t do as I knew I should have.” This

is a rented house. You don’t own the deed.

You have a lease, and you’ve set up a little shop,

where you barely make a living sewing patches

on torn clothing. Yet only a few feet underneath

are two veins, pure red and bright gold carnelian.

Quick! Take the pickaxe and pry the foundation.

You’ve got to quit this seamstress work.

What does the patch sewing mean, you ask. Eating

and drinking. The heavy cloak of the body

is always getting torn. You patch it with food,

and other restless ego-satisfactions. Rip up

one board from the shop floor and look into

the basement. You’ll see two glints in the dirt.

~~~
Maybe you need to tear down your house, like I did, and find something that works. Make a big change. Take a portion of your life and start over. Good luck!
Love, Lou

 


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A Snapshot of a Novel…Perhaps

A note from Melinda: Tell me what you think. I wrote this today as a spin off of a way-too-long manuscript I wrote years ago. I’m using the same character as before, but the beginning of the book is different. Some factors are true, such as a sister writing a song, but others are entirely fictional. My mind’s been reeling lately :) 

{Not Yet Titled}

by Melinda Williams

My sister once wrote a song. This was back when idle time was possible. Back before every moment was a struggle. To breath. To laugh. To take another step forward. She spent hours playing her guitar. I spent hours sitting in my room and listening through the wall. First, she made up an entire folk story on her own. It’s a story that will stand the test of time. It might even happen… it might have already happened. The beauty of the story is that no one would know it if it had. Has anyone before ever managed to write a potentially true folk legend?

Imagine a dark night with only a small moon to light up the sky. The stars aren’t particularly bright, but the small sliver of the moon is an almost neon yellow. Now call this a Lemon Moon.

The Lemon Moon, so the story of ages goes, changes the world. It comes to take the better half of any relationship. Think of the person you are closest to in this world. A young boy could have a close relationship with the grandmother who raised him. Two sisters could be best friends with nothing, no man, standing in between them. But the closest bond, not better or worse than family or friendship, is the bond of two people who have met and fallen in love. The love between them must be real. This doesn’t always mean happy. It could mean sadness, hurt, betrayal and even hate. For doesn’t it take real love to hate? Imagine the person in your life who loves you. You love them, too. Maybe you met years ago before wrinkles set in and hair receded. Perhaps you met yesterday. True love requires no time line to exist.

In all its glory, the Lemon Moon takes the better half of these two people, no matter which type of relationship they’re from. If the young boy is truly, down to his core, a better person than his grandmother (though aren’t all grandmothers the best?), guess what? He’s gone. If one sister’s soul is purer than the other, she’s disappeared in this dark and almost starless night. If the one you love has loved you deeper, treated people kinder, and it is the cause of their true character… then you’re alone.

Right now, can you say which you would be? Would you disappear or be left behind with all the other lesser halves? And here’s the important part: you will eventually forget that they ever existed. You will be alone, you will feel lost. You will wonder where your other half is and eventually, you will only feel a small worry. You might reach out for someone in the night, finding only an empty bedside, yet not remember who it was you were expecting to feel. Your better half will eventually disappear from your memory entirely. Grandmothers will forget their grandsons. Sisters will forget sisters. Lovers will forget lovers. The Lemon Moon has taken them and the rest of the world is left to make due with what’s left behind.

My sister has written many songs, but has only created one legend. I’ve never written a song, but I’ve created my own through my actions. Here’s my story. My legend. And at the end of it, I hope you understand why, if the Lemon Moon were to really come true, I’d be the one left behind.

Don’t judge me.

 ~~~~~

Three Years Earlier

I’m getting married today. It’s officially midnight. I’m twenty-nine years old and in a few hours I’ll be expected to walk down the aisle. I wish this night could last forever.

“Just keep this song on repeat,” I tell Eliza. She glances over at me and returns her eyes to the road.

“Is it going to make you cry more?”

I wipe my cheek with the back of my right hand. “No.”

We drive down the highway until the edge of town is only three minutes away. Eliza switches lanes to get off and turn around, back toward our parents house where we’ll spend the night.

“Keep going,” I whisper. She doesn’t say anything, but she listens and doesn’t get off on the exit. She pushes the gas pedal and we keep driving on. I can only close my eyes and pretend we are leaving for good. I can imagine a life so different than the one I’ve been zombie-like in getting through each day. I almost tell Eliza to pull over and let me out… confident that I can run faster than this Kia can carry us. My legs are restless, just like when I try to fall asleep each night. My hands are practically shaking in my lap. Eliza knows these things but she doesn’t need to acknowledge them.

Another twenty minutes pass by.

“Evvy?”

I sigh and press the tips of my fingers against the window, staring up at the moon. It’s just a small sliver. Tomorrow night will be dark, which just figures. “Yeah.”

“Yeah,” she says, and takes the next exit.


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Good Ol’ Rejection: It Makes Us Stronger…?

“There’s nothing like rejection to make you do an inventory of yourself.” -James Lee Burke

Today I was going to write about my hippy adventure to a Tie Dye Music Festival in the mountains of New Mexico, but I’ll wait another day or two.

BECAUSE…

today’s topic is actually one I want to write about.

Keeping up with the Blog Every Day In May Challenge, here goes.

Day 20, Monday: Get real. Share something you’re struggling with right now.

short stories, new writer, cabin

pensive mode

As a writer, how could I not have something I’m struggling with?

It’s called getting rejected…. Again. And again. And again.

This month, in particular, was really hard. I might as well share why.

I am constantly sending out a string of query letters. To those of you who aren’t aware, a query letter is a one page summary of a manuscript (like the back of a book jacket) along with some other info, like who you are and why you wrote it. It’s very professional, short and concise, hard (as hell!) to write, and easy for agents to reject.

To put it bluntly, I’ve stopped counting my rejections letters. I’ve also stopped counting the amount of agents who never even responded, which is another form of rejection. “If we haven’t responded within four weeks, consider it a no.” 

“I wrote poems in my corner of the Brooks Street station. I sent them to two editors who rejected them right off. I read those letters of rejection years later and I agreed with those editors.” -Carl Sandburg

One good thing: Looking back, I am glad that the very first query letter I sent out for a young adult book titled Trajectory got only rejections. The manuscript wasn’t ready to be published, but I was excited. I’d finished a 130,000+ word novel and my adrenaline was a-pumpin’. (that, by the way, is way too long for a first time author. or so I read.)

It’s the countless ones I’ve received since then that are always a tiny sting to my pride. I am blessed to be a pretty optimistic person. I can smile and laugh and be genuinely happy, even if something is going horribly wrong. I just can.

So you can imagine how HAPPY and JUMP-UP-AND-DOWN-EXCITED I was when I received my first letter back from an agent… that was NOT a rejection. After reading the query letter and ten pages (some agents ask for a first chapter, first ten pages, etc.) she wanted to read the entire manuscript. This was for my latest young adult adventure, a dystopian, semi-futuristic book called Exceptional. I cried. I screamed. I saw thousands of different versions of my future flashing before my very eyes. This could be it, I allowed myself to think.

Then I waited for 9 weeks. YES, 9 weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeks. So long. It felt like a million lifetimes. I checked my e-mail like a madwoman. I was sure she’d reject it, and then sure she would love it. If she liked the first ten pages, why wouldn’t she like the rest? Right? Or… right?

And then, you guessed, it. I got the response. A good ol’ rejection.

And I did cry (kind of a lot). I spent the entire day looking up information like this:

Rejections of Famous Authors

Sylvia Plath: There certainly isn’t enough genuine talent for us to take notice. 

Rudyard Kipling: I’m sorry Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language. 

J.G. Ballard: The author of this book is beyond psychiatric help. 

Emily Dickinson: Your poems are quite as remarkable for defects as for beauties and are generally devoid of true poetical qualities. [what does that even mean?]

Ernest Hemingway: It would be extremely rotten taste, to say nothing of being horribly cruel, should we want to publish it. 

source

And that made me feel a tiny bit better. It’s always nice to know we aren’t alone, right? I mean, even Harry Potter got rejected for years. There is always hope. It’s just that some days it’s extremely difficult to keep that in mind.

Some days I wonder if I should just get my work extra-edited and self publish. Should I? I have no idea. {the only editor I would trust, btw}

“No one put a gun to your head and ordered you to become a writer. One writes out of his own choice and must be prepared to take the rough spots along the road with a certain equanimity, though allowed some grinding of the teeth.”
—Stanley Ellin

How many more years will I wait for an agent sitting in an office in New York to like my query letters? It’s been two. I have hardly paid my writer’s dues, but still. I have decided to pursue a career and life that sets me up for the most rejections of almost any other profession I can think of. I chose it. I made my bed, so the saying goes.

In the meantime, I’ll keep focusing on quotes like these:

“Failure? I never encountered it. All I ever met were temporary setbacks.” -Dottie Walters

“Dearer are those who reject us as unworthy, for they add another life; they build a heaven before us whereof we had not dreamed, and thereby supply to us new powers out of the recesses of the spirit, and urge us to new and unattempted performances.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’ll keep forcing those rejection letters to make me stronger and more determined, rather than beaten down.

I will never give up. I can promise you that. {I love my characters too much…I WANT you to meet them.}

new writer, short stories, characters

just to name a few…

Love, Lou


3 Comments

My Lot In Life

Blog Every Day In May Challenge

Day 16, Thursday: Something difficult about your “lot in life” and how you’re working to overcome it

Um, not to sound boastful, but I’m feeling a little bit too lucky when it comes to my “lot in life.”

This is not a blog set up for a whole lot of complaining. 

I have so much (too much?) to be thankful for. Every once in a while I wonder when everything will come crashing down because, jeez, can life really stay this good? And it’s not because Greg and I are making tons of money and buying fancy things. It’s because I’m really learning to love what I am already blessed with.

Here’s a list that may not sound like much to some, but it sounds like a great life to me:

I have….

A sturdy, comfortable house to keep me warm at night. 

A sweet husband who takes care of me in his own way. 

A laptop, and a piece of paper, so I can write.

A bookshelf filled with stories

job with nice coworkers and flexibility.

Little baby chicks

A beautiful and loving family

A body that is able to work outside and go on walks.

A mind to think about fictional stories all day long. 

writing, fiction, lot in life, blessed

see what I mean? Too lucky

Must I go on? 

There was a time when I thought I wanted a lot more. The high school me, who is long gone, wanted to marry rich and drive a super expensive car (I won’t even tell you what type… it’s too embarrassing) and not have to work a day in my life. 

So many things have happened in the last six years to change the core of who I am and what I yearn for. Now, all I want is another warm morning where I can sit outside and the hopes of seeing a new type of bird in my backyard. (Yes, Greg and I are amateur bird watchers.)

Today I’m choosing to be grateful instead of wanting. I am choosing to be content rather than unsettled. I am choosing to go after my dreams rather than a run of the mill life. 

What’s your lot in life? 

Love, Lou 


4 Comments

Chicken Nuggets

How sad! I’d never let anyone eat my little chicken babies. But I thought, you know, [evil] McDonalds aside, they are little bity cute chicken nuggets. Right?

Today’s Blog Everyday In May Challenge couldn’t be easier.

Day 14, Tuesday: Ten things that make you really happy

1) The Chicken Named Linus (named by Greg) (All of my chickens have boy names. It’s the new age thing right? I’m just being a typical parent in the two thousand tens) Linus, we suspect, might be a rooster. {S}he is the most alert, the tallest and biggest, and has different mannerisms. Always on the lookout, always scoping out whatever new thing we put in their box, always the first to explore. I’m pretty sure {s}he is at the top of the pecking order already.

raising chickens, writing

The Leader

2) The Chicken Named Ray Bradbury (named by Meredith) Poor Ray. She seems to be at the bottom of this pecking order deal, and gets pasty butt all the time. I’ve held her under the running water to get it off, and then blow dried her butt. Yes, I’ve done these things out of love. She is the most “pecked on” but seems to be getting along just fine.

raising chickens, chicks, writing

The Little Guy

3) The Chicken Named Mu’réigh (Pronounced like Murry, but hey, he’s kind of pretentious) (Named by Alex) Mu’réigh is the least problematic, calm, and normal chicken ever. So cute. She’s also becoming the fattest, or at least the widest. She’s a little ball of fluff!!!

raising chickens, chicks, writing

The No Problem Gal

4) The Chicken Named John Steinbeck (Named by Yours Truly) John is the most standoffish. She is the only one who won’t eat out of my hand. She turns around or turns her head, letting me know that the trust needs to be gained. She kind of reminds me of John Steinbeck’s writing… a bit unsure of the powers at hand. Right? I will win her love.

raising chickens, chicken nuggets, writing

The Stand Off Gal

5) Gregory Daniel Williams aka Lou He’s the kindest, funniest, handsomest (a word I made up) guy in the world. He makes my every moment worth living. I look up to him and I think we’re a perfect match.

writer, new writer, short stories, author, beard

The Love of My Life

6) Being Married (which pretty much refers back to #5, just anything to do with Greg in general!) Our winter wedding was beautiful and perfect, though I must say, life after the wedding is even better. The last three and a half years have been the best in my life. Greg and I have both changed a lot. We’re hardly the same people. But we have changed together… which is the most important part. He’s such a great guy. More on Greg here. :)

wedding, being married, happy

January 2, 2010

wedding, marriage, happy

Our first dance!

wedding, marriage, happy

We were so nervous!

7) Being an Aunt to these little guys. Carson and Landon :) They are so cute and hilarious. Landon loves cars and Buzz Lightyear. Carson loves the Hulk and animals. (Carson says he wants to be a farmer when he grows up!) They know how to share, say thank you, and give great hugs and kisses. I love my nephews!!

new writer, short stories, writer, nephews, poems

Carson and Landon <3

nephews, gardening

Their trip to my house this week. They loved picking out garlic and lettuce!

8) Family  I think my parents did a pretty good job raising us all. My oldest sister, Jessica is the only one with dark hair and green eyes. She stands out in a crowd because of her exotic beauty. She’s done a great job at leading the way in this world. Emily (mother of Carson and Landon!) is so strong. She is already such a great example of an amazing mother. She is the one ALL my guy friends in high school had a crush on. Who can blame them? Meredith is my best friend. I am so lucky to be a twin… and not just to anyone, but to the best girl in the world. She teaches me so much about how to be a better person.

sisters, family, happy

Jessica, Emily, my mom, Me, Meredith

sisters, family

Love them!

9) Reading (of course) If you hadn’t realized yet, I love to read. I spend most of my time doing it. I get lost in books. I get attached to characters. It’s my favorite thing to do!

reading, writing, happy

And I always do my makeup, curl my hair, and go out to the flower groves to do it. (ha)

10) Last but not least, WRITING Writing makes me happy. I feel like I have a purpose in this life every time I sit down to write. Someday you will be able to pick my books up off the shelf at your local bookstore, but for now, read my short stories here and my poetry here. I’d be so honored it you did!!!

writing, being happy

Me, just being me… happy :)

<3 Lou


6 Comments

The {Short} Story of Lou

Today I am participating in a challenge…

to write a blog each day in the month of May.

When I woke up today I had no such agenda. But when I looked at my blogging friend Jenny‘s blog, and saw that she was going to do this challenge… based on this other girl, Jenni‘s blog… well, I just had to join in. I will try my hardest.

Each day is guided with a prompt, which is pretty cool. Today’s blog?

Day 1, Wednesday: The story of your life in 250 words or less (or one paragraph… no one will be counting your words… probably)

new mexico, writer, young adult

see? always meant to be in NM :)

Melinda Grey (Wilder) Williams never wanted to be a writer. She grew up a pastor’s kid (still is one to this day {Lutheran, in case you were wondering}) and was born in Virginia, lived in Minnesota, until finally coming to New Mexico, which she considers home. When all the kids in class knew what they wanted to be, Melinda stayed quiet and simply couldn’t decide. But she always loved to read. Her first favorite book was Where The Red Fern Grows. Then it was To Kill a Mockingbird. Later on in life, she discovered many more books (Catcher in the Rye, A Prayer for Owen Meany, 1984, Middlesex, etc) that continued to change her life. She considers Tom Joad in Grapes of Wrath to be the best character ever written. She calls him her literary crush. It wasn’t until college, when prompted to write a Young Adult fiction “first chapter,” that she began to write her own fiction and fell in love with writing. She finally knew what she wanted to do and she is doing her best to make that happen. Melinda is lucky enough to be married to a great guy, Greg. She has three loving sisters (two older, one twin) and great parents. Growing up she was shy and awkward,

meredith and me... awkward middle schoolers, but at least awkward together

meredith and me… awkward middle schoolers, but at least awkward together

but that has surely changed (at least the shy part.) She likes who she has become and what she believes in. She is no longer afraid to speak out for a cause (like boycotting GMOs, supporting local and/or organic, awareness of factory conditions for animals, & saving the BEES, just to name a few.) Melinda is currently building a chicken coop in her backyard, growing a garden she hopes will proved a large portion of her food, and working at a bakery. She has written three complete manuscripts and writes Every. Single. Day. Because being a published author is Plan A, not Plan B. Life is good! Melinda wakes up every day wondering how she got so lucky.

writing, fiction, short story

Lou & Lou… so lucky

That’s me in about 250+ words. Now you know a little bit more about me, Melinda, AKA Lou.

Also- Today was a busy, great day!

flowers, garden, writing

“before”

I worked in the yard with Greg for hours. HOURS. We planted a flower bed (above… will hopefully have an “after” picture in the next few weeks!), shoveled pounds and pounds of compost, pulled weeds, neatly stored away our hoop houses for the garden, placed small logs around the periphery of our vegetable garden AND THEN went to run a 5K with my friend. Every second was a blast.  All the proceeds of this run went to Boston Relief. I am so grateful to have a body that is able to run and work in the yard. I am so thankful to be safe at home tonight.

And how cool is this? My dinner will have part of my garden in it! Spinach and garlic!!!

melinda, writer, young adult fiction

did you know young garlic looks like this?

Hope you all had a good day, too!!

<3  Lou