Hey Lou Writes

The Grey Matters


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Stone Chamber Prisoner Goblet Order Prince Hallows

If you understand the title of this blog, we could definitely be friends!

The great thing about having a super busy life, along with a super busy family, is that birthdays can be celebrated three weeks late. We finally got the clan together for our birthday dinner and it was a blast. I was given some of the coolest presents ever. They mostly revolved around reading or my current farmer/gardener lifestyle.

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Meredith and Melinda <3

Sometimes simple is best, too. I would take an organic pb cup any day. (Thanks, Jess!)

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YUMM

The coolest gift, possibly ever. (Thanks, Em!)

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Harry Potter For Life

And these books .The Yellow Wallpaper is one of my all time favorite short stories! (Thanks, Alex!)

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Got some readin’ to do!

My parents are always great at giving me old vintage gifts, either from a grandparent’s house (priceless!) or from an antique shop. My mom has a gift when it comes to such things. The best, most useful gift I could have been given was from them.

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An EGG basket!! The chickens will love it!

The time spent, the wonderful food that was made, and the fact that I had another chance to celebrate with my twin sister made this one of the best post-birthday dinners ever!

And if you see me around, don’t be surprised if I’m wearing this.

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might never take it off

(Can you spot my other birthday present? It’s on my arm. And it was my gift to myself. ….. <3)

Love, Lou

 

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And That Makes 101

birthday, harry potter birthday, twins, one year blog I’ll say it again: The most interesting fact about myself, Melinda aka Lou, is that I share a birthday not only with my twin sister Meredith, but Harry Potter as well.

Because of this, July 31st just might be the coolest birthday ever. Just saying…. (cause what is cooler than HP?)

Also, being a twin is the coolest thing ever.

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Just like these pictures, I think the world looks better when Meredith and I are together. The first picture is great, but doesn’t the second one have just a touch more personality? (or a lot?) I have loved sharing every birthday with my best friend. I feel blessed beyond belief that I have had someone by my side for every day of my life… experiencing a lot of the same things… being my number one no matter what. It really hit me, just how much I depend on Meredith, when I was at my own bridal shower and basically felt like I was having a panic attack. The reason? It was the first time I had ever opened presents by myself. DO YOU REALIZE HOW SCARY THAT IS? When you’ve only ever had someone, usually opening a slightly matching gift, right beside you? Everyone’s eyes were on me, not us. It was weird.

But you know what? I’d rather have her beside me. It’s just a cherry on top of a great huge gluten free cake that my husband, Greg, and Meredith get along so well. I get to hang out with my two favorite people almost every day.

So, Happy Birthday to us. Happy Birthday Harry Potter. Love you all!

Today also marks one year for Hey Lou Writes. On my 23rd birthday I wanted to start something, but I wasn’t quite sure what. I wanted to write about writing, reading, and maybe share some tid bits about my life. (My VERY first post.)

One year flew by. Now I’m 24 and I’m a completely different person. I’d say that never before has one year changed me so much. Not even when I graduated from high school. Not even when I got married. Not even when I started writing. No, this year surpassed all of that as far as changes and growth. I feel as though the core of who I am was altered by people I met and things I experienced. I wasn’t expecting my 23rd year to be so …. important. But it was.

I…

lost more than I ever thought possible. 

gained more than I ever thought possible. 

made the biggest mistakes of my life.

was humbled. 

forgave and let myself be forgiven.

crossed something off my bucket list and became a chicken mama. 

had my marriage grow stronger… I thought I knew what love was… but now I know for sure.  (aka, I have the best husband in the world)

lost friends.

met new people who will be in my life forever. 

sang in front of people for the first time. 

got my biggest rejection letter EVER.

cut off my hair.

planted a garden, both vegetable and flower, and they are both providing us with beauty and nourishment. 

watched more sunsets and sunrises than ever before. 

cried.

laughed.

prayed.

spent time with my sisters.

watched my mom beat breast cancer.

realized that to live a life filled with true love, one ought not to be so selfish.

wrote 101 blogs. oh yeah, baby. 

There you have it. It was quite a  year and honestly, I’m not sorry to be moving forward. I think 24 will be a better year. Maybe not quite so eventful, but filled with growth all the same.

birthday, harry potter, twinsLove, Lou

 

 


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Happy Birthday, Lou

Yesterday we celebrated Greg’s birthday. He turned 27, and I am simply trying to wrap my head around the fact that when we started dating, he was 21. In a lot of ways, I still picture us as that couple, me 17, Greg 21, but in many ways, we’re not the same people at all.

Since we’re, ahem, less than rich (but rich in love! yes, it’s true!), I decided that I’d write a blog and post some pictures of my very favorite moments with Greg. It’s my gift to him. I figured, after he proposed on my 19th birthday, there was no one-upping him on gifts. Besides, even if this is a day late, it’s something. I’m not an organized person at all, so I had to scramble around facebook and my in-law’s computer to locate some good pictures.

Here they are. I would also call this list (after “The Happy Birthday Lou Photo Album”), quite simply, “How to be a happy couple.” It’s pretty darn easy, if you find the right person!

Take your very first picture together, the very first day you ever hang out alone, and then don’t stop hanging out. (this is that age I was telling you about… 17 and 21!)

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First Picture of the Lous

Go to some weddings, drink too much, and have fun in a photobooth!

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drunky?

Always ask him to dance, even if he really doesn’t want to. He will have fun, even if he doesn’t quite know it at the time!

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Me, so happy!

On your very first lake trip, make up even after a sleepless night spent trying to fold one tiny blanket over both of you (think, like a taco…).

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the lake

Eat a giant hotdog together, no matter how unhealthy/gross you know it is. He will rub your back when you throw it up later that day. (um, and get some matching sweatshirts.)

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ugh

Go to New York and attempt to get a good picture in front of the Statue of Liberty. :)

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I’m trying to get him to pose…

Always support his facial hair. 

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the beard

Take some great pictures at sunset. (especially if you are doing long distance- for two years-… it will help you remember those good times!)

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hugs!

Never take yourself too seriously. Ever.

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pool time

Hang out with your friend’s cool Great Dane, and don’t get one of your own if neither of you is quite responsible enough for a dog…. 

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our dream dog

However, if you do wind up getting a dog, take him on hikes. Then, when it just isn’t working in your small apartment, send the dog to family in Minnesota who will take him on long runs every day!

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Aksel, he was a good dog.

Go camping, hunting, or simply rough it together for a few days in the outdoors. It will bring you closer together. (no one likes doing anything alone and in the dark in the middle of the woods… you know what I mean.)

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don’t we look tough?

Always get a very nice dessert and share it. And try to go on dates. Our first real date only happened thanks to Greg’s older brother, Chris, who gave us a gift certificate. I am pretty sure we were already engaged. haha

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my 21st

Wake him up from naps just to take a picture, just to get a good picture onto your blog. :) Hey, I only had so much time to put this together before his parents took us out for dinner….

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today!

Most importantly, love every day! Say the words, appreciate who your significant other is, and smile when they look at you. Be forgiving and understanding. Work through anything. When you wake up and find that you’ve been together for more than six years, it’s a good feeling. Nothing can quite compare.

Happy Birthday, Lou!!!! 


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Birthdays, Harry Potter and Characters

Characters and Empty Nest Syndrome.

new writer, short stories, twins

my twin!

Let me first say happy birthday to myself, my twin sister, Meredith, and most importantly, Harry Potter. Yes, I share a birthday with Harry. On July 31st,1989 we were born and I think Harry started existing in J.K. Rowling’s head somewhere around 1991. It’s crazy to think that at one point in time H.P. didn’t even exist.

Yup. I know. It’s hard to even visualize, but there was a time.

Being that Harry is one of the most well known characters ever written, sharing a birthday with him is awesome. It’s one of my favorite facts about myself. That, and the fact that I also have a matching scar on my forehead (shaped like a crescent moon rather than lightning, but still!)

I turn 23 today. If you listen to music you might be aware of how profound this age really is. It’s mentioned too many times to count. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing has yet to be determined. I’ll try my best to make that decision by pointing out the honorable mentions of the age here:

Blink 182: What’s My Age Again?

“Nobody likes you when you’re twenty-three….”

+1 because this suggests that we’re still young enough to be annoying…at least that’s what I want it to mean

Coolio: Gangsta’s Paradise (listened to this song a lot in my eighth grade ‘cussing and rap phase’ ay yi yi!)

“I’m 23 now, but will I live to see 24, the way things are going I don’t know…”

-1 because I am so embarrassed to have been such a wannabe white middle school girl listening to what I thought of as gangsta rap

Yellowcard: Twenty Three

“We’re almost twenty-three and you’re still mad at me…”

-1 just because this is sad

Tristan Prettyman: Simple As It Should Be

“I am almost 23, confused with all the lines in between…”

+1 because it’s so cute, my husband Greg and I did long distance for two years and it was one of the songs that helped me, and she makes 23 sound not so bad

Justin Townes Earle: Yuma

“So he was just 23 when he stepped out on that ledge…”

-1 because this is flat out depressing. (Although it’s one of my all-time favorite songs by one of my all-time favorite artists!!! check it out!!)

Blitzen Trapper: Furr

“On the day that I turned 23, I was curled up underneath a dogwood tree…”

+1 because why not? I don’t actually know this song well enough to judge, Meredith just told me about it!

So it comes out even.

I guess I can count how many songs talk about the age. SIX. If you know of more please let me know!

I’ll get out of my rant about my own age and focus again on Harry Potter and characters in general.

So.

Okay.

As fiction writers we do one main thing…we tell a story about a character (or many, many characters). They didn’t exist until we made them.

But are we writing a story about some new person we’ve created or a story about ourselves? I’d argue on both ends. I have written more than 60 different characters. Some are very minor, some are major. It hardly matters. I’ve mothered them, given them the means to exist, coaxed them off into their own world until they could function without me, and then wanted them to return home. I MADE YOU. WHERE ARE YOU GOING? I’ve felt like saying this before. There is a quote that has really stuck with me.

“The moment comes when a character does or says something you hadn’t thought about. At that moment he’s alive and you leave it to him.”   -Graham Greene
When a character becomes no longer “mine” and does this exact thing, it’s a very emotional process. They’re real now. They have lives of their own. It’s as if they’re alive and walking around inside my very own word document (because none of them have made it past manuscript, which is okay for now) and have slightly rebelled against me, but done nothing that can constitute a grounding. I’m not their parent. Some of them I don’t even like. In fact, isn’t that another part of writing?

hate some of the characters I’ve written.

With a passion. As I type their next action I think to myself “Gosh, they are just awful! How could they do that?” And as much as I hate a few of them, I especially love a handful. They are my pride and joy. I am proud of what they do and what they say. They learn from their mistakes. They are loyal. And even if they have some major flaws, I love them anyway.

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just to name a few…

And last but not least, I am devoted to them all because in a way, they all hold a part of me. Yes, even the ones I hate. Because often times they say something that someone once said to me. Or they hold the same name (yes… many characters are as real as the coffee mug sitting in front of me, whether they are kind, evil, funny, desperate, or …anything else…) as a real life person who I knew in, say, high school. Some of them are family members with names too cool to pass up. I can’t think of characters unless I have had some life experience that has lead to me writing the words that created them. And so many characters exist simply because of a song that I’ve heard.

One example:

Travis in I Looked Over Jordan {will share on blog soon, too!} exists solely because of three songs on a murder ballad CD called Seven Curses  by Jeffrey Foucault and Mark Erelli. Especially songs Ellis Unit One and Sonora’s Death Row.

I was obsessed (and still am) with this murder ballad CD and listened to it for three weeks straight. This story became obvious, as if it had already happened and it was simply my job to tell the story… hardly create it.

When I get to typing I feel as if I am a medium for something that is already there. Writers block is rare, I’m very lucky to say. As long as my fingers are moving the right words seem to come out.

I’m excited for anyone reading this to get to know characters I’ve written…one short story, manuscript excerpt and rambling idea at a time!