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Tag Archives: thoughts

That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird

So, the biggest news of the week, publishing-wise, is that Nelle Harper Lee, the beloved author of To Kill a Mockingbird, will have a new book coming out in mid-July. Go Set a Watchman is supposedly the book Lee submitted before submitting Mockingbird, and follows Scout as an adult, going back to the small town that shaped her. Cassie wrote a beautiful piece about the upcoming release, and asked that I write about my thoughts about the release, and I told her I was scattery (as I am!) but I’d been thinking about it a lot this week. I didn’t think I had it in me to write a whole post about it, but started writing…and here we are.

I’ve talked about this before (probably ad nauseum) but Mockingbird is, most sincerely, one of my favorite and most formative books. I think it’s the same for so many people. We want to be (and hope we are, deep down) Atticus; we identify with tough little scrappy Scout; our collective hearts break for Boo. Some of the most beautiful lines in literature come from the book…

“Atticus said to Jem one day, ‘I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.’ That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it. ‘Your father’s right,’ she said. ‘Mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.’”

“Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father’s passin’.” 

His lips parted into a timid smile, and our neighbor’s image blurred with my sudden tears.
“Hey, Boo,” I said.
“Mr. Arthur, honey,” said Atticus, gently correcting me. “Jean Louise, this is Mr. Arthur Radley. I believe he already knows you.”

“Atticus put his face in my hair and rubbed it. When he got up and walked across the porch into the shadows, his youthful step had returned. Before he went inside the house, he stopped in front of Boo Radley. ‘Thank you for my children, Arthur,’ he said.”

 And in looking for these online to get the wording exactly right, I teared up at the power of them. It’s been so long since I read the book for the first time – I don’t even remember the first time I met the Finches, honestly, whether it was in high school or early in college – and I’m still moved to tears by the simple beauty in Lee’s words.

I’ve read the book more times than I can count; I held off on watching the movie because I didn’t think it could possibly have the power of the book, but oh, was I wrong. Gregory Peck was Atticus Finch. His calm authority gave me chills. I saw a beautiful production of a theatrical version of it a couple of years ago which moved me to tears; the actor who played Atticus gave the most beautiful reading of “Thank you for my children, Arthur,” perfectly tear-choked and stiff-upper-lipped, and I audibly sobbed in the theater. (I wasn’t alone in that.)

All of this to say, when a friend posted that Go Set a Watchman was going to be published in July, my heart jumped. Of course it did. These characters have become my family over the years. A book showing me what happened to them? A book following Scout into adulthood, giving us a peek at Jem, seeing if they’ve kept in touch with Dill, letting us know if Atticus has kept his idealism with everyone around him trying to beat it out of him, letting us know if Mayella turned out alright? How can I not want that?

Then news started coming out that maybe, just maybe, this wasn’t what Lee wanted.

Short version: Everyone knows that Mockingbird was Lee’s only book. She’s been a bit of a recluse ever since – not Salinger-level, or anything, but not going around the world singing “I WROTE MOCKINGBIRD, WHOO-HOO, LOOK AT ME!” (And side note, there have been rumors for years that her dear friend Truman Capote actually wrote Mockingbird – because of course a woman couldn’t have written something that luminescent, and she never followed up on it, so WHAT IS SHE HIDING? And then there are other rumors that Lee wrote Capote’s In Cold Blood, so how about we just assume they each wrote their own books and let people have their successes as neither of them have, that I know of, ever accused the other of nefariousness?)

Her sister was her lawyer for years, until she recently passed away. Lee has had a stroke and, by most reports, isn’t of sound mind. Her sister was very protective of her, and it’s come up that it’s very suspicious that this long-lost manuscript has suddenly surfaced upon her death. People are saying she’d sign anything anyone put in front of her these days, and without her sister to look out for her, she just might have signed off on a book she never wanted published. It’s a savvy move from the publisher – the book was announced just a few days ago, and is currently #5 on Amazon’s pre-order list of Contemporary Fiction and#10 in the Kindle Store for Contemporary Fiction. And Mockingbird? #1 with a bullet, baby. Topping the list currently on Amazon in the Kindle Store for Literary Fiction, #1 in Literature and Fiction in the United States, and #1 in Legal Fiction. Take THAT, John Grisham! I’m not saying, if this is true, it’s not a completely slimy move…but financially, it’s savvy.

She's kind of adorable, right? I want her to be my neighbor. I want to hang out with her and talk about birds and crocheting and words, words, words.

She’s kind of adorable, right? I want her to be my neighbor. I want to hang out with her and talk about birds and crocheting and words, words, words.

So what’s a reader to do?

There’s no way I couldn’t read this book. I have to. Everyone’s going to be reading it. It’s going to be like when the last Harry Potter book was released and I couldn’t go three feet without seeing someone with that gigantic book in their hands because they didn’t want to go even minutes without reading it. This is going to be a global discussion when it comes out. A global discussion about a book? How can I not be part of that? And the sheer fact that more people are reading Mockingbird – how can I not love that? But I’m torn. What if Lee – this woman who introduced me to Atticus and Jem and Scout and Dill and Boo – didn’t want this book flying around in the wild? What if it’s not up to her standards and that’s why it hasn’t been released until now? Don’t I owe more to this woman who’s been such a force in my life, whose given me so much? None of us will ever really know what she wants, will we? Do we let the book speak for itself?

Yes. Of course I’ll read it. And I have the highest hopes that seeing all of my old friends again, these people that I consider family, will be everything that I hope it will be. I will talk to my most beloved readers about it and we will discuss and argue and fight over our favorite lines and characters and it will be glorious.

And I will hope in my heart of hearts that my beloved Nelle Harper Lee, even if she didn’t want the book released, will understand that I’m reading the book out of love. I’m being given another chance to see people I love. How can I say no to that?

It’s just that it feels a little like killing a mockingbird.

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Curved like a road through mountains

What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it’s curved like a road through mountains.  –Tennessee Williams

This is a line.

(It was supposed to be a straight line, but listen, I cannot draw a straight line with what software is free on the interwebs, ok? So just ignore the fact that it squiggles a little. Pretend it’s totally straight. DO NOT JUDGE MY LINE-DRAWING ABILITIES!)

Most people’s lives follow this straight line, for the most part. They’re born, and they go to school, and then probably college, and they meet someone squishable and they marry that person, and buy a house with a porch swing, and maybe have some kiddos who are equally squishable, and get a job, and work that job for many many years and put money into their 401ks and buy cool things to play with that are shiny and pay their taxes and eventually they die.

This is very stable, isn’t it? It’s really nice. It’s nice to know you’ll wake up, and the same thing will happen, and you’ll have someone there to share things with, and maybe kids, and probably, oh, I don’t know, family picnics, or something. Vacations. Probably a dog.

This is ALSO a line.

However, it is squiggly and all over the damn place and sometimes backtracks upon itself and has strange valleys and peaks that kind of look like a man’s face and I think in one place it kind of might look like I tried to make a penis, and in another place a rabbit, to make you laugh, but I totally didn’t. (Again, please do not judge the line. There’s a reason I’m a writer and not an artist. It is not the nice line’s fault.)

This line is MY life.

There is nothing straight about this line. Like, it starts out kind of straight, but then it goes kind of haywire, and then KEEPS going haywire, because it does not know where it is going or what it is doing. It is a very confused line.

And sometimes, when you think it’s going straight (like, see where there are places where it SEEMS it’s going straight?) it decides “HA HA! I WILL GO JIGGEDY-JAGGEDY ON YOU!”

When, Lord?! When the hell do I get to see the goddamn sailboat?!

When, Lord?! When the hell do I get to see the goddamn sailboat?!

“Amy?”

I can hear you, you know, even though you’re using your most polite voice. It’s ok. You don’t have to be polite with me.

“Your line metaphor is very…nice…and SUPER-artistic…but…where are you going with this?”

Yeah, I probably should get to the point. I try to…but you saw that line up there, yeah? It has a mind of its own.

OK. So when your life is a crazy waggly line, there are good things and bad things. Like, you have a lot of experiences and stories and you meet some of the best people (whose lines are usually all over the place, too…us wacky-line people, we tend to flock together. Probably because our lines get all tangled like the last two skeins of yarn in the bottom of the bag and we can’t extricate ourselves…but that’s neither here nor there, really.)

It's easier to just stick together. We get all knotty if we try to split up.

It’s easier to just stick together. We get all knotty if we try to split up.

However, life with a wiggly line is also about making the most IMPRESSIVE mistakes (falling in love with the least-likely human beings who break your heart into a million pieces; losing your job repeatedly; crazy brain-chemistry; not being able to sleep for days; shall I go on?) and not ever knowing what’s coming up. You’ve heard about waiting for the other shoe to drop? Well, you’ve always got a big old workboot hanging over your head. At first, that boot comes as a surprise. You’re all, “what the hell? I JUST GOT BOPPED BY A BOOT! Where did that boot come from?” and you look up at the sky all suspiciously. Then the second boot falls, and you’re all, “another boot? WHAT IS HAPPENING.” But then another boot, and another boot, and you kind of get used to boots. You’re always on the lookout for boots. It’s not the easiest way to live, always having one eye out for gigantic metaphors falling from the sky. But if you know it’s probably coming, you don’t get so out-of-nowhere smacked.

Duck & cover. DUCK AND COVER, I SAID.

Duck & cover. DUCK AND COVER, I SAID.

This past Monday, I went into work. I do that, on Mondays. Most weekdays, actually. I worked. I went to lunch. After lunch, I came back to an email saying I had a meeting. I went to the conference room, and about ten other people trailed in, and we made some confused jokes about why, exactly, we were in this conference room, and there was this weird whistling noise and I was all, “huh, what’s that, I wonder, maybe the air conditioning?” and then the CFO and HR came in and told us all of our jobs had been eliminated and the BIGGEST BOOT EVER smashed me upside the head and I was all “SHIT that’s what that whistling noise was. It was coming from a really, really far distance, this time, is all. Breaking the sound barrier, far.”

Squiggly line! I had been so happy and comfortable with my amazing job with my awesome coworkers that paid ALL THE MONEY that I forgot about the squiggly line and (eep!) THE BOOT HANGING OVER MY HEAD AT ALL TIMES!

(Apparently I am to blame the economy. Any guesses who Dad thinks is to blame for this? Those of you who guessed “the government” win. What do you win? I don’t know. Nothing from me. I can’t afford to get you a prize. I don’t have a job right now, suckas!)

So here I am, yet again, friends and bloggonians, underemployed, waiting to hear from the unemployment people, waiting to hear from the food-stamp people, picking up a few hours as I can at the answering service (thank you again, answering service!), applying to a million billion jobs, networking with everyone I can think of in the hope I can maybe, just maybe, find a job that I actually really love, not just settle for because it puts money in my pocket but also sucks my soul out of my nose.

I'm not this serious yet. I can't guarantee you I won't get there, though.

I’m not this serious yet. I can’t guarantee you I won’t get there, though.

(Side note: I apparently am VERY equipped to sell insurance. I have, unsolicited, gotten four emails and a phone call from three different companies that want me to sell insurance. I assume they saw my resume on one of the job-searching sites. One was from the AFLAC duck, which was humorous, but I still don’t want to sell insurance, even if an anthromoporphic duck thinks it’s my calling. I also got an email from someone telling me I’d make an amazing realtor. I can’t think of anything I’d be worse at than selling homes or insurance. If I was living on commissions, I’d be eating out of dumpsters.)

Flattering, duck. But, no.

Flattering, duck. But, no.

Luckily, the upside of having a line o’squiggliness for a lifeline is that the ups always come. The downs are always right around the corner, but the ups are there, too. Sometimes you have to wait a little longer for them, but they’re there. The boot gets cranked back up to wherever it hangs in wait and things get rosy again, for a time.

And there’s a slight possibility that the boot WON’T fall again. That’s the thing about that boot. You can’t trust that it will or will not fall. You’re just always nervously waiting for it…but that doesn’t mean it’s a definite.

And shh…I’ll tell you a secret:

Even though it drives me insane at times, and even though there are times I mutter angrily “WHY CAN’T YOU JUST BE NORMAL LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, AMY!?!?”, I’ll take my squiggly line over a straight line any day. My squiggly life has brought me such joy. I just have to wait out the bad patches. And avoid those falling boots.

I wouldn’t know what to do with a normal life, anyway. I think you have to vaccuum and wear polo shirts or something, in a normal life. I’d be very unprepared for such things. I look terrible in polo shirts.

Time for the next leg of the adventure. Don’t fail me now, squiggly line. I have to believe you have some sort of plan.

(You do, right?)

*grin* (I knew it.)

*grin*
(I knew it.)


Our fate lives within us, you only have to be brave enough to see it.

I think you’re supposed to do resolutions this time of year. That’s the thing, right? NEW YEAR! RESOLUTIONS!

This is for you, Andreas. I know you'll love this.

This is for you, Andreas. I know you’ll love this.

Thing is, those get broken. You’re all fired up for like a week, then you get tired, and it’s so damn cold (well, unless you live somewhere warm; somewhere warm certainly isn’t here) and you might have resolved to, I don’t know, go to the gym more, or eat better, but again, SO DAMN COLD, and it’s so much easier to shotgun episodes of Elementary and eat a lot of comforting bread pudding. I mean. Not that I know anyone who’s done that. Who would do such a thing? Foolishness.

Yeah, who would eat all the warm bread pudding? WHO WOULD DO THAT?

Yeah, who would eat all the warm bread pudding? WHO WOULD DO THAT?

So instead of resolutions, I like to have some objectives. I may or may not reach these objectives, but they’re something to shoot for…and sometimes they’re long-term objectives, and sometimes lifetime objectives, and sometimes short-term objectives. And I try very hard not to beat myself up if I don’t meet my objectives. Being nicer to myself has been a long-term objective for years. I’m working really hard to keep that one.

My main objective for 2014 (hi, 2014! I am so excited you’re here!) is to be brave.

What? Amy? Amy isn’t brave? Amy’s awful shouty for a coward.

I’m not a coward. I just often take the easy way out, and that’s often the quiet route. I let a lot of life pass me by because it’s easier to not reach for what I want, not speak up, not be direct about things.

Being brave is SCARY. You have to step outside of your comfort zone a LOT to be brave. You have to be willing to get shot down, and you have to be willing to be laughed at, sometimes. But you also get the satisfaction of having BEEN brave. You get to take that home with you. That’s yours to keep.

I’ve already set some of the scaffolding in place for this for the year; nothing I’m going to discuss at the moment, but it’s actually progressing as we speak. (Another objective: not waiting until some random day like the first of the year to start things. I started working on this one big bravery-objective probably mid-2013.)

So, if we had to pick a watchword for 2014: brave. Not in the Sara Bareilles way or the badass-archer-redhead and her bear-mom way, either. Just in an Amy-way, which is a much smaller-spanning way, and probably has very little impact on anyone but me…but I’d like to know that I have it in me to be brave.

2014 is also going to be a year for travel: that’s not as much of an objective, but a given. I have the tickets. I’m going to Europe. The clock flipped over to 12 and it became The Year Amy Goes to Europe. (Well, I suppose technically it’s the year I go to Europe AGAIN, as I’ve been ONCE, but this time it MATTERS.) This is the year I’m old enough to APPRECIATE Europe, and give some people that have my heart some HUGE HUGS. And spend actual face-time with them. Extended face-time. I can’t even tell you how excited I am about this. I’m marking days off my calendar like I’m facing parole in a little under 5 months. Europe! I am so going to rock you with ZOMGs and excited laughter and wild eyes of wonder and hair that is totally intractable! Look out!

Here I come, land of the Finns! We are going to have the best of times!

Here I come, land of the Finns! We are going to have the best of times!

I’m also planning at least one, if not two, trips to my favorite city in all the world (which is…who’s been paying attention? NEW YORK CITY! You win! What do you win? Hell, I don’t know. My applause, I guess!) and will go with/see some more of my favorite people while there. My favorite city plus my favorite people? Total win.

I miss you, New York! It's been too long!

I miss you, New York! It’s been too long!

Maybe some other smaller trips; maybe just little adventures around here. There are adventures to be had close to home, not just far away. There are places I’ve totally not explored here, even after living here for 11 years. It won’t hurt anything to have a few close-to-home adventures. Plus, upside: I know where all the bathrooms/escape routes are!

It’s also going to be a year of books (not a surprise to anyone that knows me, I’m sure) and theater (again, not at all a shocker) and catching up on television shows and spending time, both in real-time and internet-time, with the people I love, and none of that varies from this year. Those things have all worked. You keep the things that worked, you see. The things that didn’t, you boot to the curb. You don’t need to carry those things with you into your shiny new year. If you keep carrying around all that garbage, you’ll give yourself a sore back, you know?

And I’m going to risk things, and go on adventures, and I’m going to be brave, because you don’t get anywhere if no one knows you want to go. You can’t just sit at the station and watch the trains go by; you have to get up your courage and get ON one of those trains. Where it’s taking you? Well, you might have an idea, but it also might be a bit of an unknown to you. And that’s the scary bit. But you’re never going to go if you just sit and watch. You have to actually be part of what’s happening.

Here’s to stepping in the middle of it and not getting trampled. Welcome, 2014; your big brother 2013 hasn’t been overly kind to anyone I know, and we’re all so, so glad you’ve arrived. You be good to us, ok?

Welcome, welcome, happy new year! I'm so glad to meet you!

Welcome, welcome, happy new year! I’m so glad to meet you!


What Have We Learned?

Once upon a time, upon reading one of my blog posts, the most excellent Elaine told me that someday, I should write a book called What Have We Learned? as I used to end a lot of my blog posts with that phrase; I’d write a post and at the end, write “what have we learned?” and sum it up with something sarcastic.

Now, let’s be honest: I often don’t have time to do LIFE things on a regular basis, like read, eat on time, or go out with friends I actually care about, so writing a book’s probably not going to happen anytime soon. I mean, someday, maybe when I’m, I don’t know, retired, or something, I’ll have time to sit down and put my thoughts down on paper…or maybe I’ll never get to retire, because apparently when I get to that age, Social Security will have disappeared and I’ll be one of those old women handing out salsa samples at the grocery store. You know those old women. The ones that have those pathetic “PLEASE LOVE ME!” smiles and listen, no one wants their salsa. NO ONE. I’m going to be one of the salsa ladies someday, ladies and gentleman; please be kind to old-lady-of-the-future-me as I attempt to foist unwanted salsa upon your personages.

PLEASE TAKE MY SAMPLES I AM SO ALONE!

PLEASE TAKE MY SAMPLES I AM SO ALONE!

But “what have we learned” is too good of an idea to go to waste. So when it came time to write a post about looking back on the year, I thought…what better than to think about what we have learned in 2013? Because I’m pretty sure we learned some things, didn’t we? 2013 was all about learning things. Whether we wanted to learn them or not, sometimes.

So, ladies and gentlemen and…well, it’s the internet, so kitties and such, too, I suppose, of the interwebs:

What have we learned in 2013?

Sometimes you need a little help.

Sometimes things get a little much. You can try to handle it alone; you can work really, really hard to fight genetics and upbringing and years and years of learned behavior but sometimes you can’t do it alone. There is no shame in getting pharmaceutical help when things get to be too much. You might think there is; our society has trained us to think there is. But you’ll realize, once you find medication that actually works, you’ve been walking around with about two hundred pounds of weight on your back you didn’t know was there, and once it’s gone, you can walk upright again. You can breathe again. You can laugh again; you can go out in public again; you can trust again; you can stand up for yourself again. The very things you were fighting against, that you considered weaknesses? They saved you. There’s nothing weak about needing a ladder to help you out of the pool in which you’re drowning.

You are only as good as the friends you keep.

And good heavens above, do I have some of the best. I have been so lucky in my life. I have somehow come across some of the world’s most amazing people, the kind of people you could only dream of being friends with – and can you even imagine? THEY WANT TO BE FRIENDS WITH ME. Me! Dorky, goofy, constant-foot-in-her-mouth, over-the-top, ALL-CAPS, me! I don’t know, either. I’m not going to question it too much, because when you start questioning it too much, I think that’s when you wake up and it’s all been a dream, like in that episode of Buffy where she’s been in a mental institution the whole time? If I’m anything, if I make you laugh or cry or think or anything? Thank them. They make me the person I am today. They’re my scaffolding, you know? They’re my bones. They keep me upright.

Silver linings aren’t just in tacky 70s overcoats.

Just when you think things are at their worst, sometimes something magical happens and it’s like that rose growing out of the sidewalk. Surprise! Beauty where it doesn’t belong! I’ve spent the last year working the best full-time job I’ve ever had; not only do I love where I work, I love the people I work with, and I get paid enough that I can actually LIVE, and not just subsist. I fell into theater reviewing, and that’s been such a blessing; not only do I get to travel, I get to see amazing theater, and I get to write, and I get published, and I get paid for it. An entire year of expecting the other shoe to drop and for me to be back where I was last year, unemployed and desperate. It hasn’t happened yet. Kind of amazing, really.

Time spent alone doesn’t mean you’re lonely.

I stepped back from things this year; left the volunteer work at the theater, pulled back a little from the internet, cut back on the blogging. This gave me a little more time for myself. “What will you do with yourself?” people asked, as if I was going to wander around my place like a little lost ghost. What I did with myself? I read a lot. I watched movies and television. I spent time with friends, both virtually and real-life-ily. I watched a LOT of theater, most of it very good. (44 shows this year! Totally a personal record!) I spent time with the furriest roommate anyone’s ever been lucky enough to have. I wrote a lot of words, some published, some private. I…well, you guys. I enjoyed the hell out of my life.

Not all endings are the end.

Sometimes you come to the end of something, and your heart is broken. Sometimes, that is the end. I’m not going to say it’s not; endings happen all the time. But sometimes, just sometimes, the end isn’t the end at all. Sometimes it’s worth holding out hope; that childish little flame of hope that stubbornly refuses to go out. Not always. Not at all. But it’s that sometimes that gets you. It’s that sometimes that’s where the magic lives. I am so thankful for that magic.

Your comfort zone is a warm cocoon but get out of it, sometimes, dammit.

The times I’ve gone out on a limb this year and tried something scary and new, something that I was sure I’d hate? Almost every time, it’s been kind of amazing. It gave me a panic attack leading up to it, most of the time, but afterward…it led to me meeting people in real life that have become some of my best friends; it’s led to me saying things I was afraid to say that led to amazing things happening; it’s led to me going places I’d never have gone; it’s led to me being braver than I ever thought possible and making changes in my life that needed to be made in order to move forward from places I was miserably stuck. So sure, your comfort zone is warm, and safe…but that place right outside of it, or even WAY outside of it, sometimes, can be pretty damn fine, too.

Never underestimate the power of words.

Words have been around long before we were even dreamed of, and will last long after we’re gone and forgotten. Never, ever think they don’t mean anything. There are the words in books – the sweep and fall of poems, the truth and heartbreak of prose, the sharing of lives and ideas in nonfiction. There are almost an infinite combination of words, and when you find the ones that get inside you and hit the chords you’ve got so carefully placed in your heart and your mind, it’s a sort of magic, isn’t it? But it’s not just books (or magazines, or blogs, or, hell, status updates or Tweets); it’s the words you get from your friends, the conversations you have, the long emails you get just when you need them the most, the back-and-forth where you share the kind of things you’re not often comfortable sharing with people; those words are just as important as any other, and it’s a shame to underestimate those. They should be taken just as seriously as any other. Your words have the power to help and the power to hurt and the power to heal; your words have the power to lift people up just when they need it, and never think, with just your words, you can’t show people how much they mean to you, and how much you love them. You owe it to your words to give them the weight they deserve; with a combination of letters, you can move the world.

It’s never too late to start over.

I’ve had people re-enter my life this year that, for reasons varied (and some more foolish than others) had been absent. Some for quite some time. Starting over can be scary – but it can also be something very amazing. There’s nothing lost in trying again – and there’s sometimes more than you ever thought to be gained. Letting old grudges go is the lightest feeling you can imagine – and opening your heart is even better still.

All you need is love, love; love is all you need.

And that, ultimately, is what we’ve learned in 2013, isn’t it? There’s nothing that can be done without love behind it. The love of family, and friends, and yourself; the love of what you do, the love of life. If you put love out there, you will get love in return. Why bother putting out negativity when it’s just going to come back to you? Do you really need that in your life? More of that? There’s enough of that as it is. Love. And love, and then love a little more. Put love in everything you do. Put love in every interaction you have. And you’re going to be amazed at what you get back. I am surrounded by the best people in the world. Their love and support of me knows no bounds. And I hope I’m able to return that in the same manner they give it; I hope I live up to their standard, their very high standard, of friendship. They deserve that, all that and more.

Those are a lot of things to have learned, right? Important things. Good things. 2013 had a lot to teach me. I only hope I was able to learn my lessons as they were presented; that’s really all we can do when they come up, try to learn them as best we can.

Happy New Year, people of the blog. Thank you for reading, and for being here. May you shake off your 2013s and step into your 2014s with bright eyes and happy smiles and all the hope for the future; what else are new years for, other than starting over (and, most likely, learning a whole NEW set of lessons?)

May you be up to the challenges, whatever they are. I have all the faith in the world in you. Each and every one of you.


Where do we go from here?

I know. You’re probably wondering, what has happened to Amy? Is she dead? Has she forgotten about us? Does she think she is too good for us? IS SHE TOO GOOD FOR HER HOME?!?!? 

Nothing this shocking, my little tater tots. Nothing this gossip-worthy at all. The answer’s a lot more mundane, promise. 

Total and complete case of what seems to be some sort of writer’s block. Well, no. Not WRITER’S block, per se: blogger’s block, I guess.

I have nothing whatsoever to write about. Nothing in my head; no ideas to write about; nothing at all noteworthy in my life to share. I’ll sit down to write something for you all and nothing at all comes to mind. 

I have plenty of things to write about in other arenas; I can email/text my friends all day long, I can write about books, I can review plays, I can write poetry, I can do work-related writing. None of this has suffered at all. 

But when I sit down to write HERE…nope. Nada. Nothing big, nothing small, nothing at all. (That was strangely Dr. Seussian, no?) Not even a little post making fun of a ridiculous thing I read in the news. Nothing seems right and nothing seems worth the bother. 

I have three posts planned for next week, possible four; I know exactly what they’ll be about, so that’s something. I have ideas for five posts for December. I’m working on a separate project that’s writing related that I can share sometime in the next couple of weeks. Other than that? Don’t know. Might be a few more posts, depending on what comes across my radar that I think needs to be shared; might not. 

But AMY! What does this MEAN? Are you OK? 

Here’s the funniest thing? I’m just about as ok as I’ve been since I started writing here. So I have to wonder if this was my free therapy, and maybe at the moment, I don’t need it as much? Not really sure. I’m more stressed about the fact that I’m randomly letting the interwebs down than I am about not having a multitude of words at my beck and call. (Now, if I didn’t have any words at ALL, like, to say or email or use at WORK, I’d be worried. But they’re still there. They’re just not there for the blogging, is all.) 

ALL THE WORDS! Except when I sit down to blog.

ALL THE WORDS! Except when I sit down to blog.

As for what it means? Well, it means the updates here are going to come less frequently. I’m not leaving altogether; I like it here too much to run away like Brave Sir Robin.

I like the community we’ve made here, and I like the things that blogging’s brought into my life (and the people.) Blogging’s become such an innate part of who I am that it seems so strange to not be doing it. But another thing is – I’ve kind of (against my better judgment) developed some sort of a life. With actual people in it. People who want to see me! And do things with me! And add to that my part-time jobs, and the time I’d like to spend with myself just recharging, reading or watching endless episodes of Catfish (sincerely, WHO SENDS SOMEONE THEY DON’T KNOW THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS, I CAN’T EVEN) and planning for the holidays and and and…the endless hours I used to spend blogging seem…sort of decadent, to me. Like something from long-ago. I don’t know where I found the time, and I don’t know that I’ll ever have that kind of time again, or that drive, or all those pretty, pretty words, all lined up at my beck and call, ready to make you laugh, or cry, depending on the day. 

See, Nev and Max know how shocking "Catfish" can be and HOW IMPORTANT IT IS I WATCH EVERY LAST EPISODE, DAMMIT.

See, Max and Nev know how shocking “Catfish” can be and HOW IMPORTANT IT IS I WATCH EVERY LAST EPISODE, DAMMIT.

I will, of course, still be around. I will still be reading and commenting on blogs; I will still be lurking on Twitter and Facebook (I’ve become just terrible about tweeting and Facebookery; I think they’re things I need to get back into practice of, but, again, there are all those episodes of Catfish to watch.) I will still be updating social media here and there. You know how to reach me, should you feel the need to do so. I’m not DYING. I’m just going to not be around HERE as much. 

I suppose we could see it as an “absence makes the heart grow fonder” thing, right? “Oh! THERE IS A NEW LUCY’S FOOTBALL POST! It is a FRABJOUS day! CALLOO CALLAY!” Right? Right. 

And there are things to look forward to. You will get all the bloggery come next spring; you’re all coming with me to the land of Finns, because tickets have been purchased for my grand European adventure to visit my beloved Andreas and his most wonderful family.

Look at Andreas' beautiful islands I will be visiting! I AM SO EXCITED!!!

Look at Andreas’ beautiful islands I will be visiting! I AM SO EXCITED!!!

Plans are being made as we speak for this. I will be spending two weeks on the continent of Yerp, adventuring and chatting and traveling and eating fancy foreign foods and using my hard-won new Swedish vocabulary. Ready? I will share it with you. “Hej.” I CAN NOW SAY HI IN SWEDISH. I know you’re impressed. You really should be. Even better: “hej” is pronounced “hey” so it’s SUPER-hard to remember, I mean, seriously. I will also be in a couple of other countries while I am there and I think you’ll need to hear all about those, too. I mean, it’s not like I can’t share that with you guys. Who better to represent Merka in Yerp than me, I ask you? I will be the MOST excited. (Side note: Andreas says Finns are a very stoic people, and my natural ebullience will make them think I am either mentally ill or on the drugs. I CANNOT WAIT TO GO TO A COUNTRY WHERE PEOPLE THINK THAT, JUST BY BEING ME, I AM MENTALLY ILL OR ON THE DRUGS, YOU GUYS!) There is a little countdown clock thingy on the right over there so I can look at it and grin about how close it’s getting. Less than 200 days to go, now! 

So really, I’m just here using all the words to tell you I have no words and you won’t be seeing me so much, which seems a very confusing thing to do to you all. Sorry about that. 

I’ll be around, here and there, which makes me sound like I’m watching you like Sting or Santa or a stalker (those are very alliterative, whoo.) Love your faces, and thank you for being here, you know? You’re the best part of the bloggery. Most sincerely.


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