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Many thanks to everyone who read and commented on my previous post about “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James. I have since had discussions with a few other people about the trilogy as well as writing in general. Quality and popularity are two of my biggest issues with the books. While I cannot do anything about popularity or say anything to change the fact that some people would rather read these books than what I like (#firstworldproblems), I will argue book quality to the core until the end of my days. People enjoy reading different genres, and I have no problem with that, but if a book lacks quality it is my belief that it should not receive international attention.

As previously stated, my mother loaned the books to my sister which is what started this entire debacle. She was so kind as to weigh in on my post the other day about the trilogy. Within her comment was this sentence:  “I don’t expect the book to be “well written” when she’s not a writer (she’s a mom) and this was her first attempt at it.”

Wait a minute, I’m confused. She’s not a writer? While the “she’s a mom” part makes no sense to me either, I know it wasn’t meant in some anti-feminist way where a woman couldn’t be both, so I’ll refrain from giving her too much grief about that part. I’ll get to the first and last parts of her sentence, but first I must tackle the most important question: What is a writer?

Google defines a writer as:

  1. A person who has written a particular text.
  2. A person who writes books, stories, or articles as a job or regular occupation.

For the sake of humor, there is also the definition outlined by Uncyclopedia:

A writer is someone who can’t be bothered going to work, and instead sits at home all day drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes, scribbling down pointless and uninteresting strings of disjointed words. Some substitute cigarettes for a chocolate bar, though the use of coffee seems to remain a constant theme. Writers attempt to avoid contact with reality as much as possible, because facing the cold hard truth about their lack of worth only fills them with self-doubt and depresses them. Because of their promiscuous lifestyles, many writer’s acquire a disease known as Writer’s Block to which there is no cure.

I see a writer as someone who simply writes, just as a person who bakes is a baker and someone who sculpts is a sculptor. You don’t need to be well-known or have published to be a writer. Publication makes you an author, but a writer is more simple than that. By definition, E.L. James is a writer, and no opinion on writing quality can change that.

What makes a writer good is an entirely different story, just as what makes a book good is an entirely different story. This is another “matter of opinion” situation. While I have had people argue in favor of characterization and plot, I have yet to hear anyone argue that “Fifty Shades of Grey” was well-written. I don’t think I’ve even heard anyone argue that it’s original, and I should hope not considering it was based off of Twilight fanfiction, and generally speaking this story has been written before. So if it’s not well-written or original, why are people reading it? Is it the smut? Perhaps. They might like the plot or relate to one of the characters somehow. I don’t know, and I honestly don’t care. All I know is that the books lack writing quality, and that’s reason enough for me to stay away.

Back to my mother’s statement of not expecting a book to be well-written because it was the author’s first attempt at it makes absolutely no sense in the world I live in as an English major and writer. That would be like millions of people becoming obsessed with a movie that was poorly made by an amateur filmmaker with a screenplay based off of something else, making it unoriginal, and expecting a fellow filmmaker to respect them for it, and on top of that having the movie be #1 for months as best selling movie. In the case of E.L. James, the 50 Shades trilogy has been at the top of the New York Times Best Seller list for 14 weeks. I understand that the list is obviously for books selling the most copies, but I still think it’s insulting to the other writers out there with quality work that isn’t being recognized because of the trilogy.

I said it in the previous post and I will say it again: I am disappointed in the publisher who allowed these books to go out as they did. I think book publishing has turned into a profit industry rather than an industry that creates art. While I strongly believe that anyone has the right to produce art and try to make it in the world as an artist, I don’t approve of people writing solely for profit, and I especially don’t approve of it when there is little talent on the artists part. In conclusion, mother and other readers, a writer to me is someone who writes, and I expect a book getting this much attention to be well written, even if it is the writers first attempt at it.

How do you define a writer?
How important is writing quality to you?
And for fun, what should I write about next?

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Sometimes I don’t blog because of timing, and sometimes I don’t blog because I have no idea what to write about. I think this is a trend amongst bloggers who don’t follow a schedule. I always have a lot to say, but that doesn’t mean I’m able to sit down and write about it.

I just finished finals week by writing a paper on Julius Caesar. To celebrate, I made a mug of cocoa and decided to write on my precious blog. Problem: I didn’t know what to write about. Because I was already texting my friend Jem, I asked for a solution…

Harry Potter was mentioned, so obviously I had to take his advice. We all need a little self-confidence boost in our lives, so below I wrote out seven things that make me awesome, no shame attached. I could write more, but seven is a magical number (Thanks, Harry Potter series) and I’m too lazy right now to think of more.

The Top Seven Reasons Why I Am Awesome

1. I have amazing people in my life.

2. I travel often and see wonderful sights.

3. I admit to proudly being a Harry Potter nerd.

4. I (almost) have my Bachelor’s in English Writing.

5. I am writing a novel.

6. I make others laugh.

7. I enjoy every moment.

To cover the seven above, I love my family and my friends. I am grateful for the people at my job and those I encounter in my academic life. Travel is my passion, something I try to do as often as possible and make the most of. Harry Potter is something that makes me nerdy, yes, but it has also saved my life in ways that I will discuss in another post. Obtaining a Bachelor’s in Creative Writing is a year or less away, and with that I will hopefully be able to help shape the written word in some form or another, which could possibly come from my novel, once finished and published. Laughter is the cheapest form of medicine, in my opinion, so I enjoy laughing and making others laugh. I’ve stopped taking my life for granted and have vowed to make the most out of every opportunity, no matter what it is.

I suppose I should also talk about why I’m hopeful in order to properly accept the challenge. I am hopeful because I know who I am and what I want out of life. I might not know my exact future, but I know who and what makes me happy, and I know that I am happy despite the little twists and turns that come about. I know a lot of people who are worried about their futures because people with degrees have trouble finding jobs in their fields, but I’m not concerned for myself. Location, career, and family will all come when they come. I may not make an absurd amount of money and I may not get recognized for my writing the way those I admire do, but I don’t need either in order to be happy. If I have enough money to survive and manage to get a few strangers to appreciate my writing, life is good. If I have people who love me and I love, life is awesome.

Cheers!

What makes you awesome?
What gives you hope?

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This week started out swiftly with the start of the fall semester. I never know how to feel about the first week back. It’s partially exciting, partially overwhelming. I love the starting phase of getting a new syllabus and meeting classmates I’ve either never seen before or never got a chance to talk to before now. New professors are also great. It’s my goal to know every professor in the English department by the time I graduate, and by know I mean hold conversations with, not a simple hello in the hallway.

I don’t want to ramble about my professors. Okay, I do, but I won’t. I’ll be simple. Two professors I’ve had before, two are new. They all have their own forms of teaching. They all interest me. I’m never concerned about a professor. I don’t want to talk myself up here or anything, but I do a good job of working well with any professor I’ve had. The key is to not shy away from them, ask questions, and let them know that you’re dedicated. It’s only been a week, but I feel that I’ve done a decent job all around thus far.

As far as classes go, I have four. I’m taking American Literature I, 20th Century British Literature, Shakespeare and Creative Writing Fiction. I’m also doing an internship in the publishing office which consists of working with social media, primarily Twitter and book bloggers. This was a small “project” that I started in the spring semester. If you’re reading this and you’re a book blogger, please let me know and I’d love to give you more information about that.

The point of this post is to share what I’ve been working on this week. People think that the first week is about syllabus and introduction, nothing more, but that’s completely false. I’m already in the process of reading settler journal logs for American Literature, The Taming of the Shrew for Shakespeare, and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce for 20th Centuary British Literature. To top it all off, I’ve also written a short story.

I’ve already taken three writing courses at this school (Technical Report Writing, Intro to Creative Writing and Creative Writing), but being a writer I wanted to continue improving my craft. Enter Creative Writing Fiction. This will sound surprising to those who have taken writing classes, but this is my first writing class that involves workshops. The first two classes I mentioned were done online, so “workshop” was online peer review, which is much different from reading aloud and getting responses face-to-face. The third class was a part of my England trip, so only the professors read my work.

My initial thought when looking at what classes to sign up for was that I couldn’t possibly take a workshop class. I know what you’re thinking. You want to be a writer, but you’re afraid of workshops… You are correct. I am comfortable approaching people and talking to anyone, but something about public speaking in any form terrifies me, and the idea of doing that every week freaks me out even more. This made me almost not sign up for the course, it’s that bad. But I signed up…and then I spent various parts of the summer thinking about if I could actually handle it or not.

We had our first workshop today. We split up into five groups of four students each. I knew one person in my group, but the other two were complete strangers. We went about in our small circle reading our stories aloud and having the others provide feedback. Pretty simple, right?

Second Confession: I have trouble accepting that anything I write is decent, let alone good.

Insert calming of the nerves here. I read my story. They loved my story. It really was that simple. I trust that they were honest considering I was honest with them, and because writers/editors are all about feedback. Most English majors are also blunt and honest anyways, so this would naturally come through in a workshop. I won’t tell you the specifics of what was said because it would ruin the story, but I’m going to post it below and see what you think. As always, please be honest with feedback if you have any.

The Last Drop of Morning

I grew to enjoy the taste of coffee at a young age. I didn’t realize how odd this was until I started asking for it at school instead of juice during break time. I couldn’t find a single classmate who preferred the hot beverage. Many adults enjoy it, of course, but they acquired the taste for it over a period of years.

The obsession started long before I even knew how to write my address or multiply. Instead, I worried about someone else, a person who people saw as some sort of hero. It was only natural that I wanted him to be my hero as well. He was a doctor, a lifesaver in a dangerous and fast-paced field. One wrong move could turn hope into a funeral. But he was always graceful in his work. People said there was something about the way his hands moved about like a symphony being created before their very eyes. I didn’t understand any of this growing up. I wasn’t allowed to watch him work, after all.

Mum made coffee for him every morning. The mere smell of it would wake me, and in a minute I would be downstairs. It wasn’t the smell that got me excited, but rather knowing my father would be in the kitchen to drink the dark substance. I used to think that if I made it there fast enough he would notice and take a minute to inquire after me. These brief moments were rather my way of being able to see him. He went to work early, before my older brothers would wake up, and so I was usually the only one to see him in the earlier hours of the day apart from mum. It made me feel special, like we had that extra bond. You know, the father-daughter bond that people talk about, we had that, or so I told myself.

He was always much too rushed to ever sit down. Sometimes he would be moving around so quickly that he would spill drops and splatters on the floor and counter tops. I would study his movements, recall these spills, and make sure to clean them up after he’d left. I thought it would make him proud to know that I was looking out for him and helping mum like any good little girl would do. It made us a team, really.

It was rare for him to ever finish his morning mug, and taking any with to work was apparently unthinkable. For months I would watch the drink sit on the counter until mum would come back to pour it out. I came to find it to be a waste, and listening to her sigh as she dumped her efforts down the drain was dreadful. It was only natural for my little mind to conclude that I needed to finish the coffee.

He took it straight up. No cream. No sugar. Just black. Black like his hair. Black like his thick-rimmed glasses. Black like his shiny loafers. I accepted black as his color. I don’t know what my color is, but his will always be black.

It was disgusting at first. I wondered if he left so much behind because he couldn’t stand the taste. After trying it again and again, however, I couldn’t help but want to drink every last drop whenever possible. It was addicting, just like waking up early for a glance at my hero was addicting. I saw him every morning unless he was away for work or left without coffee being made, but those days were rare.

Things changed even more when I got older, thirteen to be exact. It was like the world had shifted overnight. My father used to show small signs of recognition when I stood in the kitchen—a pat on the head, kiss on the cheek or squeeze on the shoulder—but after so much time he neglected to do anything at all. It was a clear sign of being unwanted, or at least that was how I felt. I would even do that thing where you stare so long and eventually they would look over, but even that didn’t work. It was as if he stopped existing at home and was solely dedicated to his working life, and of course the coffee; he always paid attention to the coffee.

My mother was never fond of my morning routine. I used to think it was because she was a tea drinker and the idea of her only daughter preferring the disgusting taste of coffee to tea was upsetting to her, but as I learned more about life I understood that had nothing to do with it. It also had nothing to do with my father, funny enough. I don’t remember when exactly she started coming into the kitchen to talk to me; she never used to. I can hear her now, talking to me as if we were in the moment.

“Stop drinking your father’s coffee.”

“Don’t clean up after him, love. I can handle it.”

“Why don’t you go back to bed, sweets? It’s still quite early.”

“You’re too young to be drinking that stuff. It’s for grown-ups.”

While my mother paid notice of me, my father’s neglect carried on for years. I finally decided to do something about it. I didn’t want to be the bad guy, as it were, but I was tired of being invisible. I walked into his office without knocking, and like normal he didn’t bother looking up from his work. The door remained closed as I stood opposite him at his desk.

“Your mother is concerned about you,” he said, not looking up to see who it was. “She still doesn’t think you’re ready to move on.”

“What do you mean?” I asked, confused.

“You’ve been gone a long time,” he said, putting the cap on his pen and looking up at me, his expression uneasy. “But you still haven’t left.”

“I can’t leave,” I said, frowning. “I’ve tried to go, but I still end up back here.”

We stared at one another, me feeling rather empty, him looking empty. It felt unnatural, being around him. It was getting to the point where I’d rather not see him, but I also knew that I was cursed to remain here a moment longer.

“Why did you forget about me?” I asked.

“I never forgot about you, love,” he said after a pause, his expression changing to sadness. “I could never forget you.”

“But you stand in silence every morning. Mum at least talks to me sometimes.”

“Your mother has yet to accept your death,” he said. “I thought that if I acted like you weren’t there, maybe you’d be able to find some peace, but that hasn’t happened.”

“I just wanted you to notice me. You know, pat me on the head, kiss me on the cheek, squeeze my shoulders.”

“You know I can’t do those things anymore,” he said, running a hand over his face. He looked worn and torn as if we’d been going in circles with this conversation for years. “I think about you every day; that will never change.”

Having heard that, I knew it was time for me to go. I had been haunting the house for too long, and it was time that we all had peace.

“Finish the coffee so mum doesn’t have to dump it out,” I told him.

“I will,” he said with a nod. “Every day, I promise.”

I returned the nod, smiling a little. I hadn’t had coffee in years now, but watching my mother pour it out made me envious. I was glad that I wouldn’t have to worry about that anymore. I left his office, vanishing into the unknown, for once knowing I would finally get the rest I had been missing for years.

Cheers!

Have you ever taken a writing workshop class/session before? If so, how do you feel about it?
Which of my classes would you most be interested in taking?

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(Note: Please see the bottom half of this post if you’re looking to skip to the “important stuff.”)

I am going to start by offering my sincerest apologies. There will be no Harry Potter recipe tomorrow (Thursday). I know, I know. I’m slacking already. Time has gotten the best of me as of late, and I blame it on another project, along with lack of planning. I have been rather busy with life, but also with the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It hasn’t even started yet and I find myself getting distracted. I’ve been preparing little bits and pieces of plot and character development that will occur within my novel. I may hold off on recipes during some or all of November due to this project, but I have no interest in doing that intentionally. However, if that does happen, I guarantee that I will make up for it and get going again in December.

I also need to apologize for something else. In yesterday’s post I mentioned only wanting your support and nothing beyond that. It has now come to my attention that there is more that you can do, though it isn’t necessarily for my own benefit. There is an organization called The Office of Letters and Light that helps children and adults find creativity through the written word. The organization is also sponsoring the NaNoWriMo that I am participating in.

Being a major supporter of the arts, I find this to be a great opportunity to give back to those who work hard in helping people find creativity and introducing ideas like NaNoWriMo to people like myself who have trouble with motivation. Being given the chance to participate in something great, I want to give back to the people who make it possible.

As I’m sure you are aware of by now, I’m talking about donations. This is a money situation, people. I know that funds are tight right now with this rather rigid economy, but I’m not asking for a lot. You can give $10 – that’s not even a restaurant meal. You can give more, of course, but I’m not expecting the moon. I kept my goal small ($150), but I hope to be able to raise beyond that to support this great cause. Writing is very important to me. I have accepted that it takes a person’s own imagination and gift to be a writer, but I didn’t learn the skills on my own. Office of Letters and Light is one of many sources that help people with finding the tools to make their writing become a reality. Please help me by giving back to that.

Donations can be filled out AT THIS LINK. If you aren’t comfortable with online payments and live in the area or know my address, I will be happy to accept cash/check and add your money through my own card. Your name goes on the website with your donated amount, so you can be sure the money given to me will make its way to the cause.

With or without “sponsoring” me during the month of November, I appreciate your support more than I can say. I am humbled by the response I get on my blog and from those I know in person. I will never be able to thank people enough for what they have done for me. I am blessed to have this life, and the last thing I will ever do is take it for granted.

Cheers!

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Are you ready for thirty days and nights of literary abandon!? Sounds pretty exciting, doesn’t it? (This is the part where you say “Hell yeah it does!” or “Heck yes!” if you’re Napoleon Dynamite.)

National Novel Writing Month goes from November 1 – 30. Despite my brain screaming “STAY FAR AWAY! YOU HAVE NO TIME!” I have decided to participate in the challenge. What is the challenge, you ask? Well, it’s only 50,000 words (roughly 175 pages) in thirty days…no big deal – or as my lovely BFF Dana says, NBD.

My November is busy enough as it is, so I figured I might as well officially destroy my sanity by working on this challenge as well. At present, my November looks like this:

  • Full-time job
  • 11 credits at school (This includes editing and preparing a poet’s book for publication with three other people, which is more work that I could have imagined.)
  • British Isles trip get-together November 11 (This involves people from the England trip I went on this spring…which I still haven’t really written about…sorry.)
  • Mom’s birthday party November 13
  • Harry Potter midnight movie November 18-19 (Trust me, it’s a big deal.)
  • Seattle trip November 23-29

In short…I am in over my head. Response: BRING IT ON!

I know what I am going to write about. I wrote a piece of flash fiction last month that I decided would make for a great novel. I have basically changed everything about it except the main plot. I apologize, but it’s too soon for me to talk about it. Whenever I talk about something too much in the early stages it often doesn’t make it to the end. For now, we’ll leave it at the simplest of facts that I’m working on a novel…and it will hopefully be written by the end of November.

This may cause me to slack a bit (more) on my blog. I may even have to put off the recipes for November in order to keep up with a writing schedule. I will need to write roughly six pages every day in order to fulfill the quota. Seeing as how I have a week-long vacation towards the end of the month and a few evening events already planned, this means I might need to write upwards to twenty pages a day on a few occasions. It’s extreme, but many have done it before.

This is what I ask of each and every one of you:

SUPPORT ME!!!

Okay, that’s obviously not me. Homegirl does not look like that…and I’ve never been to New York.

But seriously, all I want is your support. I’m not asking for money or for anyone to pretend to be me at my job (though that would be interesting). I know that it’s hard to turn back from something once everyone knows about it, so if I continue with the contest I hope you continue with your support. I’m not concerned, of course. I have an amazing readership here and am lucky to know all of you in some fashion or another. I thank you here in advance for any support given through the grueling process.

And now that I’ve written the word “support” more in one sitting than ever before, I think it’s time to finish up some homework and head to bed.

Cheers!

Have you ever participated in the National Novel Writing Month contest?
Do you have any advice for me during the next month? (I may need it.)

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I would first like to extend a grand THANK YOU to everyone who commented. Whether you’re a friend or reader of the blog, I felt rather special when coming online to see all of the great advice and kind words. So again, thank you for that.

As for the result to the comments and personal reflection, I know where to go from now. I think it best to just let the chips fall, as it were, and carry on with life. I know who my true friends are, and that’s all that should matter. That’s all that is going to matter. And now, as I said, it’s time to carry on with life.

The book that I am in has FINALLY been published and is now in my ownership. New Branch of the Journey is a collection of poetry, short stories, photography and art that I participated in last spring semester that one of my friends from school put together for a class. The book was originally going to come out in May, but scheduling put the book off. It wasn’t a big deal, really. But I am a naturally anxious person, so naturally I wanted the book sooner than later. Now that I’ve waited it out and received the final project, I am glad that the extra time was taken to make it look the best possible. In the book I published a short story called “The Raspberry Stand.” Since I have little else to talk about for today, I’m going to post the short story below. It’s not my best work, but it covers a period of my life that I will likely write a lot about in the future. Enjoy! (Note: It wouldn’t let me indent, so I spaced out the next paragraphs.)

The Raspberry Stand

I made my way from the local farmer’s market in Annecy, France towards a small park that was decked in varying shades of green. Surrounding the old part of the city were the Chaîne des Aravis Mountains, which sat above the famous and majestic Lac d’Annecy. The water of Europe’s cleanest lake was of a glacier blue hue, and the mountains glistened with their many colors. I knew that my life at home was difficult and my escape from it could only last for so long, but I held onto the images before me as I took a seat on a warm bench, a small carton of raspberries in my hand.

The farmer’s market where I had purchased the raspberries was full of chaos and bargaining, but I paid no notice of those things. What caught my senses were the smells, colors and life that existed within the market. I walked from stand to stand, taking in the scent of pungent herbs such as garlic and fresh aromas from the breads that were baked that morning. One man was selling two black and white piglets at his kiosk. I feared that one day they would become someone’s breakfast bacon. There existed a sudden urge within me to free the poor innocent creatures, however I knew that in order to keep my innocence in the historic town I must carry on, and carry on I did. I had never been to a market of such nature before, and the mere presence of it made me wish I could remain there forever.

The school trip I was on consisted of nineteen students and three teachers. The trick to the trade was that if students took two plus years of French in high school, they could travel to France for three weeks. The students ranged from ages sixteen to eighteen, me being the oldest by a few months. I had just graduated a couple of weeks prior to the trip and had four years of French under my belt.

I was not sitting alone in the park; there were five others with me. I was with two of the girls from my high school, one of which had graduated with me, as well as two other females and a male I had met days before. I was not considerable friends with the lot, but they made for a great bunch of traveling companions during our stay in France.

The raspberries I was holding held no special nature beyond a traditional grouping of fruit. They were neither organic nor in possession of any mystical French powers, as far as I was aware. They were locally grown and arranged into small cartons for the sake of selling – nothing more, nothing less. The reason that they mattered at the time was because I had grown to dislike them. They reminded me of home.

My mother, siblings and I used to go to my grandparent’s house every summer to visit for a few days, and even though that had changed with time, I can still remember a key part of the journey: stopping alongside a country highway road to buy raspberries from a wooden kiosk. This stand was literally in the middle of nowhere. It had always baffled me as to how the people running it managed to make a penny in such a queer location. Nevertheless, we would stop by every summer and pick up a couple containers of raspberries and also purchase some of their homemade raspberry lotion. It was heavenly.

As time passed, the visits to the raspberry stand waned; it was as if someone in the car had become allergic to the feeling of happiness. Sometimes the stand was closed like a bad omen, and other times we simply did not stop. The sky appeared darker with each summer’s passing, filling me with malcontent towards the situation. For years we passed the raspberry stand without a second glance. In our world, it had become invisible.

There were many reasons for our absence from the berry kiosk. The divorce between my mother and stepfather was what started it all, but the death of my grandfather soon after was what really did it. Mother stopped believing in sweetness after that. Being children, we believed in what she believed in. There was no alternative, no separation. The end of the world did not come at the arrival of the new millennium as so many predicted it would, but it did for us. Grandfather only made it in a couple of weeks. Perhaps it really was the end of the world. What mother had failed to realize was that divorce existed between two adults, not children, and that death could not erase the life that remained. In our house, however, that is exactly what happened. Life ceased to exist, and the raspberry carton sat empty for many years.

Back on the park bench, I began examining the container of tempting fruit. It was not necessary for me to count them to know that they would satisfy my hunger, but I still did not move to eat them. Instead, I removed one berry from its place and tossed it onto the ground in front of me.

“What was that for?” the male travel companion asked me.

“Release,” I replied, when no other reason came to mind.

I knew what I was doing, of course, and I knew what would come next. Sure enough, a small bird from a neighboring tree came down and hopped towards the berry. After examining it for a moment, as if it too had been scarred by dissipating country kiosks, the bird took the plump berry in its mouth and fled towards a safer place to enjoy the sacred treasure. I smiled, feeling like I was off to a positive start of some great adventure.

I tossed another berry to the ground – for grandfather who left our family broken and weak. And another berry – for mother who made us grow up too soon. And still another berry – for the many nights I was left alone in the darkness. Again a bird came. Before long, there were five. The other travelers started to get in on what they thought was an exciting moment, but for me it was so much more. This was a form of therapy I was not even aware existed.

After half of the carton had been emptied, I took the liberty to pop a crimson red raspberry into my mouth. I took my time chewing, letting the sweet liquid run down my throat. I had not tasted something so sweet, so juicy, in many years. In that moment, I was a born again raspberry lover. I managed to consume a few more berries before leaving the remainder with the birds to enjoy.

My companions wanted to carry on, and on we went. We headed down a paved walk alongside Lac d’Annecy, moving towards a sandy beach that charged two euro to sit on. We paid the fee and ventured onto the beach, letting our toes sink ever so slightly into the warm sand as we walked. I had no intention of swimming, so I sat out with another girl as the others went into the water for a dip away from the heat.

Sitting back on the beach, I witnessed something beautiful. The sky was a clear blue, and the wind was so faint that it did not appear to exist at all. Boats glided on the sparkling water as if it were meant to be done in that exact fashion. The farmer’s market was still open across the lake. I could smell a distant scent of bread, and somewhere there was a man selling cartons of fruit to passersby.

Despite the beauty of the old town, my mind was stuck on the raspberries. The situation on the bench helped me to understand that I would one day move beyond my discombobulated thoughts as to why we stopped buying raspberries, just as I had moved beyond refusing to eat them because of it. They were much too delicious to not eat.

As I shifted my eyes to the right, I noticed a small bird in the distance exiting the park. I was certain there was a raspberry in its mouth, and I felt something that had been hidden for many years. Peace.

[Copyright: Jenna Miller]

Any advice on the short story from fellow writers out there?

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Recently, I sent a question over to Jasmine at EatMoveWrite asking her about readership. I know I’ve battled myself back and forth with this topic, but I have this issue where I really want people reading my blog. It isn’t about popularity or recognition, but rather because I have a lot to say, and sometimes other people can relate. This is what I said:

“I am skeptical of one thing with my own blog. I have all of these great things I want to write about, but my readership is so small right now that I don’t want to spend all of this time writing something and have one or two people read it, you know? I have no profit or gain from my blog, of course, but my main goal is to share things with people. I don’t need to share them with myself, really, because I already know what I’m writing about. So I suppose my question is at what point did you feel that your blog really took off to a point where you could write something and know people were going to read it?”

Jasmine kindly took the time to address this question in her most recent Vlog. To listen to her response, click here. Out of everything she said, the main thing that stuck out to me was when she said, “Write…write to the death!” That really sparked my interest, because that’s what I plan to do, with or without a readership. If there are any bloggers out there (or people who are considering starting a blog) that worry about readership, I suggest that you go listen to the Vlog.
In other news, I finished my first two recipes for the Harry Potter Cookbook Challenge. I’m not going to give anything away, but I will tell you that I made one dish and one dessert, and both were AMAZING! Seriously, you will want to read about these recipes. Look for the post on Thursday evening. And if you haven’t done so yet, check out the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook page on Facebook, as well as the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook website.

That’s all I have for tonight. I need to stop loitering at my parents house for the evening (where I made the recipes). My dad is beginning to hassle me about my nerd-isms, and that’s usually the part in the evening where I leave.

Cheers!

If you’re a writer, what inspires you to write?
Do you think it’s important to have a large readership in order to blog?

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