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I cried reading a comic book yesterday. In public. At a bakery/coffee shop. Granted, I’ve been doing a lot of crying lately (mostly the good kind!), but still, I was not expecting to cry whilst reading Captain Marvel. But I did. And I want to talk about why.

I’ve put off a lot of things in my life because I felt I wasn’t ready for them. I had to get A, B, and C in order before I could attempt X, Y or Z. NEWSFLASH: Life doesn’t happen in alphabetical order. It’s a bit ridiculous to think that you have to put your life on hold until you have certain things figured out. I have prayed for a pause button for my life, and at the ripe old age of almost 29, I think I’ve finally accepted the fact that I’m never getting one (dammit).

It’s been a weird year. Honestly, it’s been a weird past three years. It wasn’t until this summer that I realized just how not myself I have been. It’s like polishing silver–you think it’s just a tiny speck of tarnish, but once you clean and polish it until it’s shining like it’s brand new, you look at the polishing cloth and realize it’s filthy and you wonder, how did you not see how dirty it was? How did you ever think that tarnished piece of silver was what it was supposed to look like?

Captain Marvel Stars

Okay, but what does this all have to do with Captain Marvel? Well, a while back, Carol Danvers made a choice to save the world, and in doing so, she lost her memories (that is the short version, I highly recommend reading The Enemy Within arc for the whole story). It was tramautic and it’s something the character and her friends have been dealing with since then. Carol knows who she is: she’s Captain Marvel, she has alien super-powers, and she’s an Avenger. But she doesn’t really know what that means. She’s a little broken.

At the end of issue 17, hundreds stand with Carol Danvers and proclaim “I AM CAPTAIN MARVEL” to save her from the bad guy; a small kid who considers herself the sidekick is giving Carol lessons on how to be Captain Marvel, and we’re shown a tease of someone who has been inspired by Captain Marvel and her actions. And yeah, that made me cry. Because there are times you can’t save yourself, you need others to help you out. Occasionally you don’t know who you are or what that means–you need someone to remind or teach you. And sometimes, you can be broken and still inspire someone.

Captain Marvel Feels

I know who I am, more so than ever before, but I don’t always know what that means. Sometimes I feel a little broken. And I think, how can I sit down and write a book for teenagers when I can’t do basic adult things like put away my laundry or buy food at the grocery store? How can I give advice to someone on friendship when I am so very bad at being a friend myself? Why would anyone listen to me about anything?

But I don’t have to have it all figured out. I can be a little broken and still encourage others. I can still write. I’m not an Avenger (dammit). I’m not Carol Danvers. But I can still punch holes in the sky.

Christine H.

NaWri15Mo

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is nigh upon us. The past several years I’ve taken my best shot at writing 50,000 words in November. I have failed miserably. It’s okay. I’ve either jumped on at the last second with the barest idea of a story in my head, or I’ve casually approached it. “Sure, I’ll give it a go. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t.” Perhaps some people can use the word “maybe” in conjunction with NaNoWriMo and come out at the end of November with 50,000 words, but I am not that person. And since I am trying to be more honest with myself, although I WANT to be that person who “wins”, I know it’s not gonna happen this year. November is too busy with birthdays and holidays and I am just not prepared for this.

WHAT DO YOU KNOW, JON SNOW?!

shut up Jon Snow, WHAT DO YOU KNOW?!

But, I still kinda want to join in with all the NaNoWriMo fun. So I’m doing my own thing. I’m going to write for fifteen minutes every day in November. That’s it. Not an hour, not even half an hour: FIFTEEN MINUTES. Fifteen minutes is completely reasonable. I can even write for fifteen minutes on Thanksgiving.

SO. WHO WANTS TO JOIN ME?!

“Hmmm, this sounds like a good idea and 15 minutes is doable, but I still want a prize or something.”

WELL HAVE I GOT GOOD NEWS FOR YOU! As an incentive, I will be giving out gifs every day you write at least 15 minutes. Because gifs are the best. Look, I even made a Tumblr for it. I’ll post the gif-of-the-day on Tumblr, and you can reblog it once you write your 15 minutes.

“But Chrissssstttiiiinnneeee, I’m not on Tumblr.”

Fine. You can tell me on Twitter and I will send you the gif there. If I love you I will probably do that anyway. It will probably even be personalized.

“I’m not on Twitter.”

I don’t know why you’re here then. Do I even know you?

“But what if I write 15 minutes EVERY DAY in November? WHAT IS MY GRAND PRIZE, CHRISTINE?”

I DON’T KNOW I’M STILL WORKING ON IT MAYBE A PERSONALIZED VINE BECAUSE I AM GREAT AT MAKING REALLY DUMB VINES.

There. I think that’s all. If you want to join me for NaWri15Mo, leave a comment or tell me on Twitter. LET’S HOLD EACH OTHER ACCOUNTABLE AND ENCOURAGE EACH OTHER AND LET’S MAKE STUFF AND WIN PRETTY PRETTY GIFS, OKAY? Okay.

ATTENTION ATTENTION THIS IS NEW STUFF I HAVE EDITED TO ADD THIS IMPORTANT NEW INFORMATION

OKAY SO YOU PEOPLE WANT TO DO THIS THIS IS GREAT THIS IS AWESOME I AM EXCITED!

FIRST OFF–you should go sign up here.

Two–visit this post for more info and answers to FAQ.

Thirdly–Here is a blog badge/button complete with the code you need to put it on your blog/website. Proclaim your NaWri15Mo participation and be inspired by Robert Preston leaning and pointing his finger at you.

NaWri15Mo
<div align="center"><a href="http://aramblingfancy.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/nawri15mo/" title="NaWri15Mo"><img src="http://media.tumblr.com/558726e06a5809a703ed545b3ba38fde/tumblr_mvgz0vmwvF1smd25ro1_250.gif" alt="NaWri15Mo" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Okay I for reals think that is it. YAY LET US DO THIS THING!

Christine H.

WARNING: This is really long. But I don’t care.

Last Thursday night, I pulled into the parking of BookPeople (Austin’s beloved indie bookstore) 20 minutes before an author event and signing. As I parked my car, I yelled “WHERE IS EVERYONE HOW IS THERE SO MUCH PARKING AVAILABLE DON’T YOU KNOW SHANNON HALE IS HERE?!” Then I laughed at myself and thought about how I arrived at this moment.

*cue the flashback harp sound and wavy line effect*

It was 2003. I was 18 years old. Since I was 16, I spent most of my free time roaming around the Barnes & Noble five minutes from my house. On this particular day, I was wandering around the childrens/YA section, and noticed a book on an end cap. The cover was a pretty, simple, crackled illustration and I couldn’t decide if I liked at first. I picked it up, and flipped through the pages. The pages felt nice. It looked interesting. I read the first line and liked it. I was broke, so I wrote down the title and author in my notebook and soon checked it out from the library.

The book was The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale and it changed my life. I just didn’t know it yet.

I read The Goose Girl before I read Harry Potter. As I sit here, sifting through my life, sorting out what has influenced and changed me, the Shannon Hale and J.K. Rowling piles seem about equal. They are very different piles of influence, but the effect they have had on me has been profound.

You know those quiet people who are so wonderful you sometimes take them for granted? That is Shannon Hale to me. Yes, I have given The Goose Girl as a gift multiple times. I have bought each of the subsequent books of Bayern in hardcover the week they have been released. I have named her as a favorite current author and I have read her blog since, well, she started one. But it wasn’t until this year that I realized how much The Books of Bayern and Shannon Hale mean to me. Part of me is still processing it, and so I can’t quite talk about it all right now, but re-reading The Goose Girl for its 10th (!!!) anniversary this summer finally opened my eyes to the ginormous and lasting impact Shannon Hale has had on my life.

So imagine me when I see the tweet announcing her upcoming book tour and Austin is one of the stops. Did you imagine me screaming? Because I did. Did you picture me sending capslocked tweets about it? Um, yeah. Now  imagine me picking up my Bayern books from my parents house (because most of my books are still in my old bookcases in my old room) and getting teary eyed. Seriously.

*squiggly lines and end of flashback music*

So there I was, super early to the Tween Panel with plenty of time to sit and freak out. This is where is pays to have unlimited text messaging and a best friend who will listen to your crazy. And this is when I learned, yet again, how awesome book people can be. There wasn’t a lot of people there early and the authors were late to come back from dinner, so it gave me a chance to chat with the other people waiting about how long we had been reading Shannon’s books, and to actually touch and hold an ARC of her new book, Dangerous (out next year!), a book blogger had brought along. It was great.
image

Eventually the authors arrived and more people showed up and it was a great panel with interesting questions and thoughtful, funny, fascinating, answers and full of good stories. It seemed to go by so fast and before I knew it, we were queueing up to get our books signed. I was trying SO HARD to stay calm and cool and collected. But I knew. I knew I was going to get up to that table and cry. I waited and watched as Shannon spent time with each fan (the younger kids this event was really for, and us older ones who grew up with Isi and Enna), talking to them, signing every book and taking pictures. Suddenly I realized *I* wanted a picture. I fumbled around my purse for my phone, clutching my five books close, and when I pulled it out and opened up the camera app, the mom behind me asked “Oh! You want me to take a picture of y’all when you get up there?” YES! Please! Thank you! And then I chatted with her and her daughter about our favorite Shannon books. Mom and daughter in the pink shirts, you guys were awesome and you helped make my night.

AND THEN IT WAS MY TURN. And I talked to Shannon Hale. And I was only about a 3 on the Christine awkward scale. And the pink shirt mom took my phone and started taking pictures while we were talking and Shannon was signing “because those pictures are always great, you’ll love them.” And I do.

image

I gushed. I rambled. I cried. I tried so hard not to loose it, but I totally almost did and so I just cried. And she asked me questions and I answered. I told her I gave the Goose Girl out as a gift more than any other book and she said she probably owed me some royalties. I told her something I haven’t told a lot of people and we chatted about that. And it was wonderful. And then it was time for a picture.

Me: “Okay, you know that super cheesy smile you make when you’re 3 years old?”
Her: “Yeah?”
Me: “Can you do that smile?”
Her: “OH, YEAH!”

image

It’s my new favorite picture.

I got my books signed. I got to talk with Shannon Hale. I got my cheesy smile picture. And I got a hug. I didn’t even have to ask for it. I think she just knew it was what I wanted most of all.

I cried the entire drive home. Because sometimes you don’t realize what an impact a person has made on you until years later. Sometimes you don’t get the chance to tell them–to thank them. Sometimes you will never meet them.

But sometimes, if you’re really lucky, you’ll get a hug.

Thanks, Shannon Hale.
Christine H.

Ramon Casas i Carbó, After the Ball

Instead, all I got is this picture of an oil painting.

What up, Internet. How goes it? How do we feel about capitalizing “internet”?

I told you I didn’t know what to write.

Here’s the thing, there is too much to say. So let me sum up.

I feel like I’ve lost myself these past few years. Or more honestly, I realize and acknowledge I have lost myself a bit the past few years. And I’m slowly getting back to me. Or rather, I’m slowly going forward towards me? I mean, I’ve changed, so I can’t go back entirely, but I feel like I’m working towards getting the essential bits of Christine back. And part of that is writing. And blogging. And I want to do it, I just don’t know if I have the words. Or sometimes I have the words, but I don’t want to do it. You know what I mean?

I don’t have the words today, and I don’t really feel like I should be doing this today, but when the hell else am I supposed to start something? When my to-do list is checked off and all my “to-read” books have been marked as “read” on GoodReads and I feel content and accomplished and my Netflix queue is clear and I don’t have a sewing project I should be doing and my room is clean and tidy? I don’t live in an Instagram fantasy world, do you? I’m just sitting at my desk, staring out the window, except it’s nighttime so I’m really just staring at a reflection of myself and if I wanted to make some kind of meaningful metaphor from it I probably could, but that is so boring.

I ran out of words. I’ll see you on the Twittersphere.

~ME

Thoughts from my Couch

(Actually, I think a better title for this post would be “THOUGHTS AND CONFESSIONS ON FRIENDSHIP FROM THE COUCH WHILST WEARING SWEATPANTS, GROMIT SLIPPERS, AND A 27 YEAR OLD DISNEYLAND SWEATSHIRT“. But that didn’t fit in the Title Box)

I have been a terrible friend this year. No, don’t try to tell me otherwise. It’s true. I have known what a terrible friend I have been, but the longer I left emails unanswered and let packages sit, waiting to be mailed, the guiltier I felt and the longer I let them sit and left them unanswered. It has been a vicious cycle. I probably still owe you, dear reader, a letter, email, FaceTime chat, or text. I’m sorry.

This morning I stumbled upon a blog and was skimming through the posts when I saw the phrase “intentional in their friendship” (or something like that). There it is again! That word, intentional. It seems to be popping up a lot in my thoughts and reading lately, and it got me thinking. Again. Ugh, thinking is hard and borrrrriiiinnnnggggg (Boring: A word Christine likes to use when she doesn’t want to do something because she is lazy/doesn’t want to be an adult).

Friendship is hard and it takes work. “Duh, Christine.” Look, I know you know this, and I know I knew this, but sometimes I forget what I know and I have to learn it over again. See, I often picture friendship as something that goes like this:

Girl One loves A, B and C.

Girl Two loves  A, B and C.

The two meet.

“You love A, B and C? I LOVE A, B AND C!”

“WOW! We also seem to have that ineffable chemistry that makes for great friendships—let’s be friends!”

They hold hands and skip off into the land of Friendship is Magic, populated by Anne & Diana’s and Betsy & Tacy’s where everything is wonderful and everyone knows what to say and when to say it and they know when you need to talk and they know when to make you talk and when to listen and it’s all buttercups and roses and they are friends forever THE END.

That is absurd.

I’ve been sitting here, writing and re-writing this post, trying to figure out what it is I feel and what I’m trying to say. And I realized I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, because I’m still trying to figure this all out. I could save this as a draft and wait until my thoughts are more coherent, but here is the thing—I’m tired of waiting until I have all this figured out. In the past two years I have come to truly understand that life does not have a pause button and you can’t wait to sort out This before you move forward with That—you have to do That in the midst of the mess of This. And so I’m going to be a little more open and raw on this here bloggy blog. Maybe we can all talk things through and learn and grow together instead of just, I don’t know, reading how I went from point 1 to 2 to 3 and now it is all grand, leave me happy comments!

All this to say that friendship takes work, and I have been selfish and maybe a little lost this year and I am sorry for that. Truly. I don’t want to take any of my dear friends for granted or make them feel like I’m ignoring them for other friends or activities. Maybe we need to encourage one another to be intentional with our friendships—schedule FaceTime chats, set aside an hour tonight to reply to that email instead of just saying “Oh, I’ll get to it eventually. They know I love them.” Sure, they may know it in their hearts, but sometimes being reminded of this, whether by saying the actual words or through your actions, can make someone feel really, really good. And I’m pretty sure making someone else feel good is a part of friendship.

Let’s go be intentional!

P.S. I love you.

 

 

HELLO DEAR READERS! ONCE AGAIN IT HAS BEEN TOO LONG AND I HAVE TO USE ALL CAPS TO CONVEY ALL MY THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS AT BEING GONE FOR SO LONG AND OH GOODNESS I MISSED YOU!

I put this here so you have something pretty to look at in this post.

Hi there.

Just between you and me, does this year feel off to you? Don’t get me wrong, this year has had some great moments and awesome things have happened—but it’s also been full of things that just didn’t feel quite…right. Even Twitter has felt off. Am I the only one feeling this way? IS THIS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU GROW UP? I hope not. Lame.

I have been doing a lot of thinking the past week. A LOT of thinking. Here are the things I have thought.

  1. I like writing.
  2. I miss blogging.
  3. I like reading what others people think and feel and connecting with them through the internets.
  4. I want to write a blog post every week.
  5. I don’t care if the only people who read my blog are Kate and my mom.
  6. I want to write whatever the hell I want to write!
  7. Simple, sincere writing is what I most love to read, so I’m gonna write that.
  8. I’m a nerd. There will probably be a post about Captain America.
  9. I didn’t really need to list all these things but OH WELL.

There was more I was going to say today, but I don’t want this post to turn into a rambling 1,500 word post because I feel the best way to dive back into blogging is to stick your toe into the water first. Then you back up, run, and cannonball into the Internet and scream and splash a bunch of people on Twitter and Instagram, and pop up laughing because oh my gosh, this is fun and it feels so right and what the hell took you so long to jump back in anyways?

I’ve missed the hell out of you, my darlings.

HELLO DEAR READERS!

I don’t even know where to begin.

I moved! Let’s start there.

Once upon a time, I decided I wanted a change from Austin. So I went on Twitter and asked Twitter who wanted to move to NYC with me. Or anywhere. One of my close Twitter followers said “You should move to Chicago and be my roommate!” Long story short, I did and now I am. The internet is weird and wonderful like that. I may also be a little bit crazy, but we already knew that.

Walking Through Chicago on a Lazy Afternoon

So here I am, not quite in the Windy City, but it’s a quick drive or train ride away. I’m sharing the second floor apartment of an older house that has been converted to two living spaces in downtown Super Cute Suburban Town with the super cool Roommate. I’ve been here six weeks and I am still unemployed (maybe one day I’ll tell you my hilariously awful job interview stories), but I worked my ass off last year and have the savings account to show for it, so I’m not too worried about it, honestly.

My Office on the Front Porch

I’m reveling in the free time I suddenly have. I’ve been doing a lot of reading, crafting, and some writing. Mostly though, I’ve been thinking. Thinking about life, the universe, friends, goals, what the hell I want to do with my life and how I get there. I found the perfect hike and bike trail that was made for evening walks, chasing the sunset. Sometimes I go on a walk and contemplate deep and meaningful questions, and sometimes I just walk and listen to the birds and smile at the passing joggers. I have no idea what tomorrow may bring–and I’m okay with that. In fact, I kinda like it.

I have loads more to share with you, but all in good time. Okay? Okay.

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