Thankfulness, Day 18

I’m not sure if I’ve done this topic, but you know what? If I have-there was a good reason. And since I’m going for it now, there’s adefinitely good reason.

F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

Not the TV show, the real life people.

I consider myself to have a limited selection of friends, not because I’m picky or high maintanence, but because those are the people I trust. I’m friend-ly to everyone, but I reserve that title for those who truly mean it. And right now, as the time would have it-I have 3. That isn’t to say I have abandoned all the others, but right now, my life is blessed with those three and it will come a time when the number increases.

I was the weird geeky outsider who managed to retain some popularity as a high schooler. Not entirely sure how that works, but I think it had something to do with me being nice to people. Everyone knew I would help unless I needed time for myself, which I tried not to take often (except as a freshman. But you all know that story.) Still, by the time I started college, I had really only a couple friends left. I would say after graduation I went from 5 or 6 down to 2 or 3. And when college started, that number went up to 7 or 8. But now, I have three-one that I met in college, one that I didn’t really talk to until after college started but I’d known her since high school  and one that I’ve known for practically our whole lives.

The thing is, that length of time really doesn’t change all that much with friends. It’s about who they are as people. I may not see them all the time, or hang out every week, but if a text arrives, I shall answer it. If a phone call comes in, I shall do my best to remember where I put my phone before it goes to voicemail. My friends know I’m always down for coffee and wine (but I never D+D). I love heart to heart, meaningful conversations-sometimes lasting until bizarrely odd hours of the night.

They are the people I tell things to, that  complain to, that I listen to. They are the people (apart from my husband and family) that give my life meaning. And the thing is, we’re not all carbon copies of each other. I don’t want them to feel exceptionally put out there, so I’m going to call them A, B, and C. And I’ll pop in a little synopsis of me just for focus.

Me: I like coffee (a lot). I am an anthropology major with my eye on international affairs. I lived in a very small town with dirt roads and I used to work fast food.

A: Known since college started: In a love/hate relationship coffee, is dating a guy I helped set her up with, majored in history with an interest in law. Lives in a small town and has worked food for a little while.

B: Known since HS, met in college: Lives on coffee, is married with an ADORABLE little girl, works for Dave and Buster’s, really great artist.

C: Known FOREVER: Committed relationship with coffee, very devout Catholic, nursing major, lived in a small town and used to work in food.

Now you wanna know what’s crazy about all this? Even though we all met at different times, we all live within a half an hour of each other (or at least we did before 2 of us moved). Three of us went to the same high school, I took driver’s ed with C and only two of us frequent “curse words” as common vernacular. Interesting that we all could have known each other at various points in our lives, but it was at those particular moments that we met and stayed. And I am beyond blessed to have the three of them, who understand my level of crazy and have no problems adding in their own. Honestly, I would be lost without them. 

Thankfulness, Day 2

Although I could go on and on about my husband for these days of thankfulness, today I want to focus on something different: literacy.

  It is something that I take for granted on a day to day basis, even now as I type this blog post. I have the ability to read and write not one, but two languages (and I’m working on a third). How many people don’t have the ability ot say they can do that for even one? 1 out of 4 children in America will not learn how to read (DoSomething.org). 16% of the world is illiterate (ProLiteracy.org). 

  I was fortunate enough to be a girl whose parents read voraciously. One of the first things I could do was read. And honestly, that’s one of the most important things about being human: being able to understand. Reading creates adventure, creativity, job marketability, education (not only the westernized version, but also education about pregnancy, diseases and ever so much more). Literacy leads to a life less likely to be cut short by poverty or imprisonment. Literacy leads to freedom.

  So as I sit here today writing my novel and my blog and some homework, I am incredibly thankful that I even have that opportunity. By this time next year, I want to have helped someone else in the world become literate, so that they may enjoy the benefits too.

Things, Excitement!

A little while ago I wrote about how my computer crashed and sent all my things-including the story I had been working on for over a year-to the abyss. I wrote about how I had an early edition on paper and that from the ashes I would rebuild. I’ve found that my scenario is the best thing that could ever happen to my creative license. 

As I look over the words that I wrote before, I can see what the editors and publishers saw. I can laugh about the mistakes I made in an eager attempt to get it done, the amateur manner in which my characters behaved. That was not the story I should have written. It was a mess.

So today, instead of fervishly trying to copy down the words that I had written to produce a terrible tragedy of a book, I scrapped the project for real. Not just starting over, but an entirely new story. Sure, the key points are still the same, and my ideas are really similar-but the presentation is completely different. I have new desires and so do my characters.

It will be darker, more believeable, more like the story I wanted to write but failed to before. What’s more, I will be able to say that I’m writing an entirely new story for this NaNoWriMo, because I will be. This time around, I won’t be hanging on to over-used lines and stereotypes but jumping into unknown territory with characters that feel as real to me as people I went to high school with. 

I think this is a great metaphor for my own life. I have a predetermined plan in my head, where I follow a plan that I made ages ago, saying the words that I have heard over and over before. I know that there are options out there, and that I have complete freedom to reach out and take hold of the new and the bold, but I’m so attached to the story I’ve already made. Believe me, I cried so hard when my manuscript disappeared. And I think that’s an entirely acceptable metaphor for life. I fight so hard to keep the outdated parts of me, just for the sake of saying “But see? I did this!” when what I really need to say is “But see? I’m making new paths!” I never like the change that is imposed upon me: graduating, moving, starting new jobs, making new friends, but in the end those changes are the exact reason I want to keep revising my chapters, my life.

So goodbye first draft, it’s been really nice getting to know you, but it’s time for a serious revision.

Hello new draft, I can’t wait to dig in and see where this story leads.