Je T’Aime A La Foille

So I’ve started my new project. I started going through my Roy box; old pictures and trinkets I saved. When I found his old postcards I started to get a little bit sad.

When Roy and I were apart, he’d collect postcards from all the places he’d travel. He’d leave me these little notes that used to mean the world to me. We promised not to say the “L” word until we reunited in the States.

When we met, we had only 8 days together before he had to fly back to Paris. On his last day, we spent the entire night making love and telling each other stories. I remember him singing me this song, “Midnight City,” by M83 and stroking my hair as I began to drift off. He begged me to stay awake and I did.

We were in some seedy motel and he asked me to take a walk in one of the ugliest little cities here in VA. I said, “Okay,” and somehow, holding his hand as we walked to 7-11, he transformed that city into something beautiful. He bought us coffee and cookies for breakfast and we sat on a bench in silence. Finally, he broke the silence and asked me if I could wait for him. I didn’t know what he meant, but he clarified:

“Just don’t sleep with anyone else and I promise I’ll come back to you.”

My heart was racing a million miles a minute as I responded calmly, “Okay.”

He rested his head on my chest and I hugged him close to me. In that moment, my life became a fairy tale. We started Skyping every day, all hours of the day and night. Eventually, he moved to Abu Dhabi where we had a nine hour time difference. I would stay up until midnight just to watch him get ready for work at 8 AM his time.IMG_5888

He’d stare at me like I was the most beautiful thing in the world and when it was time to go he’d hang his head. He once told me that it was hard for him to be awake, knowing that I was halfway around the world sleeping and he could be there beside me.

It was so hard not to tell him I loved him in moments like that. I wanted to scream it to the world, I love this man!!!!!!! But I didn’t. We promised not to say it until we were together.  When he finally did come back to me he brought me perfume, a scarf, a teddy bear, macarons from Paris and these postcards. Of all the things he gave me, the postcards were my favorite. He had loved me just as much as I loved him.

It’s moments like this, when I remember the love, the music and the love letters that I can’t reconcile where we are today. How could something so beautiful turn so ugly? How can a love so sincere become so faded? When I think like this it makes me sad, because it makes me question love in the future. I could fall in love with someone tomorrow and in such a short amount of time it can end. Is love real? Can it last forever? I guess in this aspect I’m a gambler. You have to play to win, right?

“Paris is one of the most, well probably the beautifullest city of the world!!! I can’t wait for us to come on romantic weekends together where I will show you all the pretty streets and shops, take you to all the fantastic monuments and museums and best of all make you taste the french food, yumm yumm. I love you to death mon amour, weekends in Paris with you mon ange would be a dream come true!!!

Je t’aime a la foille

Roy

To Fictionalize, Or Not…That Is The Question.

If you follow my blog then you already know my novel is based in part (mostly) on my past relationship. My ex, we’ll call him Roy, gave me a taste of the world and I’ll always be grateful to him for changing me in all the best ways. Well mostly anyway, I do have a barrage of trust issues that I won’t even get into at the moment.

When I started the book, I wanted to get it all out of me. The leftover love, the memories of us making love and exploring the world together. It was so beautiful and so moving in my mind. I just can’t write about him as he is today. The whole novel is so hard to touch because now I’ve been disillusioned. My main character didn’t grow into the sophisticated diplomat I pictured him to be. He’s arrogant, sexist, lazy, horny and just so frustrating. He was all of those things when I knew him, when I loved him, but back then I guess the love overshadowed it all. I also assumed (like an ass) that he’d grown and matured.

So the point is, I’ve thought about turning my novel into a memoir or a book of essays. Or maybe just writing out our story the way it was; the way it really happened. I mean it was exciting and beautiful. When I remember the past it’s easy to get going. I can write about our first kiss at my favorite bar, the first time we made love, my first international flight. It all seems beautiful just as it is. Turning it into fiction is hard because when I write Roy’s character, I can’t picture anyone falling in love with him today. Myself at 22 and now 28 are very different. 28-year-old me can turn back the clock and remember how it felt when he proposed on the bridge in London. I can remember the first time he said “I love you.”  All these things and more are so beautiful, just as they are.

Have you ever read The Cat Who Went To Paris by Peter Gethers? It’s a book about a guy and his cat and it’s absolutely enjoyable. As much as I want to write novels, I think my first book is a memoir. A book of my favorite stories, life lessons, mom lessons and love failures. So, in that case, I’m going to start posting sample chapters and I really need your feedback on them. I am going to have something done by the end of the month. Novel, novella, or memoir.. I will have my first book finished this month.

Let’s go, baby!

Love always,

Jenn

Starting Over

“Strength shows, not only in the ability to persist, but the ability to start over.”

-F. Scott Fitzgerald

I stopped keeping up with this blog shortly after deciding to start it. My novel was coming along wonderfully, but my personal life was not so perfect. I was living with my baby’s father, working a job that fostered my not-so-slight alcohol problem and I was facing everything alone. I told myself that everything I did was for my daughter. Working the night-shifts, staying up late and working the day as a nanny. Living with her father in a perfect apartment, but spending each day arguing with him about the menial day-to-day issues like dishes and laundry. When I finally decided to leave it all, I realized that maybe it wasn’t for her. Maybe I just enjoyed the apartment and the comfort of two incomes. Maybe I enjoyed my night job because I felt young and sexy, the nightly tips didn’t hurt either; I was making quite a bit of money. The thing is, with two jobs, a shit relationship with your non-partner-partner and 3-year-old in constant need of mental stimulation, you burn out. I did just that.

So what changed?

I met someone that inspired me to take action. Stop saying you’ll change things, you’ll get there and just do it! Change. So I did. Mostly, anyway. I left my ex’s apartment and moved into a basement apartment with my daughter. Now my ex and I are mostly great together. For one thing, we both love our daughter to bits and we do what’s best for her at all times. We also have the freedom to be who we want without judgement from the other…again, for the most part.

I quit my job at the night club and am now living off of my savings account while I search for a job that will provide for me while I write my novel. That’s the goal. I want to write my book. I want to finish college and show my daughter that education is life. Dreams are achievable when you work hard and you believe in yourself. I still have my nanny job, which isn’t much, but it’s getting me by while I search for the perfect semi-permanent job. It’s going to be the job that pays the bills while I work hard to fulfill the dream. I’m also really trying, but struggling with quitting my vices. Smoking and drinking have been hard to quit since I’ve made these huge changes in our lives. A bottle of wine and a pack of cigarettes have always soothed me through rocky waters. I’m working on it, really. 23244060_10210616614722542_8848400060239516600_n

So here I am again, re-starting the blog and ONCE AGAIN restructuring my novel to fit my new experiences and feelings on life and love. After all, I’m a romance novelist. Love is everything and I want to capture it perfectly. My characters have grown with me and they have to fit the story.

Wish me luck fellow bloggers, writers and single mothers! Writers, artists and inventors are really just sailors. We’re discovering life and capturing every moment, every feeling and experience on paper or canvas. It’s our captains log and baby, I’m gonna sail the world!

Planting Seeds

I can’t deny that I’ve been completely unmotivated writing my novel these past few days. The characters are perfect, the scenes I have in mind are great, but the plot is just too wild. It’s all over the place and what I thought began as a great idea has quickly fizzled into erratic scenes from my past that come together to form a very emotional and shit novel.

In my despair, I called my best girl friend. She suggested I just come out and write my memoir. Screw the novel, just write what you really want to write. At first this seemed like a good idea. My story is interesting, long and there are so many wonderful and meaningful moments. Luckily, I called my best guy friend (and 2nd muse) next and he talked me out of it. I mean, honestly, who am I, right now, to be writing the memoir? Who would read it and why?

It’s not that it wouldn’t be great, but first I should actually fulfill my dream so the memoir ends on that note. “I became the novelist I always knew I would. I also fell in love with a millionaire and had lots of sex and babies along the way…”

Anyway…

I decided to plow on with this novel and spent another 30 minutes attempting to find the point of my story. What am I trying to say? At least, what makes this story different or worth reading?

This led to considering scrapping the novel once more, but picking up my original idea, born in 2009. I pulled out my old book of outlines and character bios and started plucking away at that. The characters were SO stale! My 2009 self had a very limited idea of love and people in general.

So I slept on it. I slept and an idea was born! When I woke up this morning, I realized that I had a book with wonderful characters and another with a great plot and no characters! HELLO!!! I worked on this in my mind and again on paper once my three year old was tucked into bed. In creating this new plot, I am still able to save a majority of my written manuscript. For the most part, the scenes can mold into my new plot.

My favorite part of this idea is that it’s more fictional than what I’ve been working on. It’s still a very character driven plot, but it’s much more fun and with a great twist.

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I’ve read a lot of books on writing books and they all say that two or more seemingly unrelated ideas can eventually come together to form a great novel. I FINALLY used this in practice and I LOVE being a writer!

I’ll try and get it into a bit more detail as the story progresses, but to all my fellow writers, I just want to say I am so proud to be among you tonight. I am also so grateful to have such supportive and creative friends to give me that little push when I need it.

Although, I must admit…it drives me crazy when either doesn’t like one of my ideas. I am such hypocrite sometimes, I know, but I take it with grace, I swear! Okay, I think…

Have a great day friends! Make every word count;)

Books On Writing Books

This weekend has been a fairly unproductive writing weekend. After an amazing push on the novel Wednesday night, I found myself busy with other things Thursday to Sunday.

My baby girl’s, father’s side of the family was having a huge get together this weekend. They were celebrating her grandmother’s 70th birthday and I volunteered to help cut together a compilation video of relatives wishing her happy birthday. It took all day Friday & of course Saturday was the party. Sunday I was a bit hungover. I’m sad that I lost three days in a row, but also glad to have spent some time with Lexy’s family. I think it’s super important to maintain a close relationship with her ENTIRE family. It’s for this reason I even attempt to have a relationship with my very complicated mother.

I did keep morale up by reading books on writing books during most of my downtime. This weekend I re-read Lawrence Block’s, Telling Lies For Fun And Profit and I also began Stephen King’s book, On Writing. I always find these books super inspiring, especially on days when I feel like a total fraud at the keyboard. Just do it, they say, and I believe them. image1 (1)

I love Lawrence Block and highly recommend him to all my fellow writers! The audible version is read by the author and he made me laugh. Stephen King, well I’ll save my review until I’ve finished the book.

I hope you’re having a great week friends!

“I never know what I’m going to write about next, and when I think I do I usually turn out to be mistaken.”

-Lawrence Block

The Beginning of Your “Writing Shift”

I like to think of my writing as a job. I have to write for a certain number of hours each night with a goal of five pages minimum. The trouble is, I start my “shift” at 10 pm. Now, I’m usually a midnight writer, or so I like to call myself. It’s just that lately, with my days so full of activity, things like the gym, the pool and household chores, I’m usually exhausted by the time I make it to my word document. I find myself blocked and my mind wanders uncontrollably.

Tonight, I am planning a quick meditation and back to work. After this post of course. I just thought I’d share this quick thought and ask for any advice you might have.

What do you do to keep your mind fresh and focused?

Midweek Catch-Up

So I know I haven’t had a lot of time to catch up with my blog here, but it’s a lot of work. This social media thing takes time. There’s Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and jeepers! That’s so much! Each of these venues have a different purpose and I have yet to master the tricks of the trade. As a writer, I have to up my social media presence. Publishers expect you to do a lot of the initial publicity by maintaining “an audience” or as some call it “a following.” The former seems a bit pretentious and the latter seems kind of cult-y…

Either way, I’m working on it.image1 (5)

So now, just in case I have trouble updating my favorite blog (this one…obviously…) I dub Wednesdays my weekly “Catch-Up Days.” On these days, I’ll give you a quick update on number of pages finished (for the novel), calories burned for the week, cigarettes smoked (I”m trying to quit) and dates had (trying to quit this too). So here we go:

Cigarettes smoked this week, starting Monday: 6

Calories Burned: 390 (I just got back on the treadmill today)

Pages written: 46

Dates attended: 0; there was some mild contact (texting) with male suitors, but nothing riveting

Overall, this was a good week. I wrote a lot. I spent very little time worried about men. I got back to the gym. I spent lots of time with Alexis and re-established our night time routine to include chapter books, sans pictures. I also spent a lot of time with my girlfriends. image2.PNG

My best friend was in town and an old friend came back from Guam. My bestie and I started planning our Vegas trip, for marketing/networking purposes. This means I have a new deadline for my manuscript. I have to have it finished, at least the rough copy, by October. More on this later.

My old friend, Kiki, is back after a year gone. We’d been estranged for a while, but since she’s been back she’s on this crazy motivated path to…redemption seems dramatic, but she is definitely trying hard to be a better version of herself. She’s working 7 days a week and she’s quit drinking and smoking. She even hooked me up with a great website and job opportunity; it’s teaching children from China English. I’m not sure I’ll have time, but I’m looking into it. I’m super proud of her and so glad she’s in my life now, while I’m also trying to improve myself. It was meant to be, I think.

It’s been a very productive week, but it felt more like rest and relaxation. I need human interaction. Let me clarify: I need adult, human interaction. Sometimes, anyway. I need more people in my life that foster growth and I think this is the first time in my life I’m realizing it doesn’t need to be a man I’m…sleeping with.

I know that’s sad, but better late than never, right?

The writer in me is happy, the mom in me is proud & the hopeless romantic can kiss my ass. This week (and several to come) is all about empowerment;)

 

Writing, Mom-ing, & Dating

Today’s writing project is coming along so perfectly. I’m really enjoying the new direction my book has taken. Characters really do lead the story along and I’m really happy that the book is more fiction and less of a memoir. As a memoir, the story can stand alone, but fiction, especially romance, needs a bit more “pure” love and a little less realism.

Alexis has been home for a week now, since her mini-vacation and we’ve had a great week. My best friend and her daughter are in town until Tuesday so we’ve been spending time with them and lots of time outdoors. I’m still searching for a good preschool. image2 (2)

I found a nanny position that is twice a week and I get to bring her with me. I’m really excited about it because I miss working with kids and I also miss guaranteed money. When I was teaching preschool, I remember coming home feeling really accomplished, having taught (at least a few) children something new about the world. I’m also waiting to find out about my application to teach children from China, English.

I’m now on the hunt for a job that I can keep long-term. I found the perfect apartment for me and Lex in a town, not too far from her dad. The gym is beautiful! It doesn’t offer a room for Alexis to play in while I run, but I’ll figure something out. I am set to move into the new place in October and the ex has been so supportive. I think we’re closer now than we’ve ever been since we have nothing left to argue about. We’re just happy to be allowed to do our own things and be our own people.

Speaking of which, dating is still the pits. Mr. Robinson is apparently not married, so he says. I kind of believe him, but for some reason I wasn’t as happy as I thought I would be when he told me that he wasn’t. He’s just so unpredictable. One second he’s texting me throughout the day, the next day (or 7) he’s not speaking to me at all. He’s also big on “sexting” which only makes me feel more expendable.

I’ve also been texting back and forth with someone we’ll call Mr. Dubs. He’s much more of a gentleman. Robinson is so direct and outspoken, whereas Dubs is much more subtle. He’s asking to fly me to Vegas, since my best friend and I have now decided not to go. I told him I’m moving into my new apartment that month and it’s just bad timing, but he says the offer stands. He wants to get to know me better and he says he needs a dance partner during the night events at clubs and such. This man is a terrible dancer, but he’s terribly charming & the accent. When we were on our first vacation I remember melting when he asked me to stay in bed with him. Just a wee bit longer. The way he looked at me… I am such a sucker for a man that knows how to stare in awe. I can’t go though. I’ll be super busy and wouldn’t be fair to my friend who is actually a part of the company hosting the weekend in Vegas. I’d feel so weird hanging out with her colleagues while she was stuck at home.

So that is my week for you. I’m once again restructuring my life & at this point, coincidentally, my novel as well. I still suck at dating, but have yet to stop attempting. I’m still a kick ass mom and I’ve enjoyed this break from work. I’ve always loved having open days with my girl, though I do miss the security of steady work.

Wish me luck on a better week to come.

-J.

 

Saturday 6: Happy Endings

1. I went to the gym and rocked the treadmill even though I was not in the mood. I got on and told myself I’d just walk for 60 minutes if I have to, The music and the adrenaline got my spirits up and I found myself running. I so needed it.

2. My brother is on vacation with my baby this weekend and he called asking if he could take her to the waterpark without my mom. He’s 24 and I was extremely hesitant to say yes. I told him to watch her no matter what. Stay with my 3 year old and my 15 year old sister AT ALL TIMES! Kids get snatched all the time, I’ve read so many horror stories and while it’s not easy to decipher which are true, enough are to keep me worried. Apparently, he ditched my sister with my kid and did his own thing. I am so done with him. Maybe enough time will pass that I’m over it, but right now I am LIVID.

3. Before all of this, I spent my afternoon after the run poolside. It was incredible. I tanned and listened to music. I wrote and even changed a major plot line in my novel, but I’ll get to that.

4. I spent the rest of the evening catching the latest episode of GOT, having a veggie burger and a glass of wine in the bubble bath. I so needed time alone. No music to stifle my thoughts. Just me and my story in an empty, clean apartment.

5. I found out about the water park thing as I was writing this post. SOOO MAD!

6. I changed the plot AND ending to my novel. This sucks because I’ll have to scrap a majority of my written work and restructure a lot of what I’ve already written. I don’t care because my new concept has more meaning. It makes more sense and in the end the main character gets a happy ending that she’s worked her ass off for. It’s worth it. image1 (3)

Bonus: My date two nights ago sucked. It was pleasant enough, but at no point did I let my guard down or feel like myself. We talked (or he did) politics the entire time.

I’ve decided to stop dating for at least 3 months. Today was especially beautiful because there was no angst or pressure building up to some over-hyped date in the evening. When I know I’m going out, I spend the day anxious to know how it will all work out. Will we have fun? Is he going to be the new guy? Will I have sex?

I spent my day living in the moment. I went to the gym and took my time. I took my time on everything. For the record, I came by myself and that too was amazing. Right now, I just need to focus on my book and my baby girl. I need to work hard and I need to get comfortable being alone because Mr. Right might not be right around the corner.

While I don’t plan on pursuing anyone anymore, I’m not closing down the channels. If I meet someone shopping or at the bookstore than of course I’ll give it a shot, but I’m done trying. Short skirts and modest heels have thus far gotten me nowhere, ya know?

I should note that none of this applies to Mr. Robinson because…love. I fell for that guy 5 years ago and it stuck. If he never calls that’s fine, but if he does, I’ve got to see where it goes, because..LOVE. I don’t know him, the him that he is today, but the him I knew 5 years ago is everything I crave today. Ya never know, right? Also love. Right??

Constructive Dating

I met a man last night. I couldn’t write and so I decided to walk to the bar across the street and have a drink. While I was there, I got a text from an Irish man I met in the Dominican Republic. We’re supposed to meet again in Vegas this October and he was asking if that plan was still a go, to which I responded, “Probably.” Now this is a story for another time, but considering this man actually is married, though in the process of a divorce, I don’t put a lot of stock or effort into maintaining this “thing” we have.

As I sat at the bar texting my best friend, I was interrupted by a man asking if he could buy me a drink. He invited me to his table and in the end, I gave his friend my number. The man that bought me a drink was very talkative. He was kind and thoughtful, but very opinionated. The friend was soft spoken, but I liked the way he watched me. He was also very handsome, part Turkish and Armenian.

When I left the bar he texted to tell me he loved my “professional behavior.” He also mentioned that my smile attracted several people and he liked that I focused on who I was talking to. We’re going to dinner tomorrow night, for another one of my dinners and conversations. The way I think of it is like this, if you don’t play the lottery, you ‘ll never win. Eventually, I will meet someone I love spending time with and in the meantime, I’m picking up new characters for my book.

On a mom note, I was watching my daughter and her friend Clara tonight (a freelance babysitting gig) and I went outside to take out the trash. Clara, a feisty 2 year old, managed to lock me out. I was so nervous because my phone was in the house so I had no way of contacting my boss. I was knocking on the door and trying to sound very clear when I begged, “Clara, unlock the door.” My daughter, I knew would have no idea how to do this. I was petrified knowing my 3 year old and this 2 year old were stuck inside without me.

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Luckily, I found my way in through the back door. Once I took a few breaths I realized their town home had a back entrance. I know…I was only trapped outside for five minutes though so give me a break=(

Tonight, I am experiencing a touch of writers block. I have a new character in mind, but I don’t know what I want to do with him. Instead, I’ll fall asleep meditating on it and usually I dream something good. Sometimes.

Good night loves:)

When Life Gets Rough, Live In Your Novel

So after a melancholy morning, in which I moped about a guy, my daughter arrived home, super happy to see me. The second I embraced her my spirits lifted. The first thing she wanted to do was go to the pool so we did. I was happy to, I needed the vitamin D for a little boost of joy. We spent the rest of the afternoon making spaghetti (her favorite), eating popsicles, and reading stories. Every time she’s gone for more than a day she comes home with so many new words. I read her The Story of Little Babaji and when the tiger puts shoes on his ears, she tells me,

“Mommy, that’s bizarre!” She’s such a cheeky little thing. I’m so proud of her. I put her to sleep reading aloud Nights in Rodanthe, my latest Nicholas Sparks novel. I finished it and I was bawling. It’s such a beautiful story and of course it reminded me so much of my long distance relationship with Basil. He’d be in Dubai, on a completely different day, finding new ways to write and tell me he loved me.

Of course, this gave me fuel to start writing. I wrote ELEVEN pages last night! I mean, I was lost in my story, smiling like I was really there experiencing life through my characters eyes. When I was tired, I printed the pages and edited them in bed. I love paper and the editing process. For me, it’s so romantic with a gel pen and a mug full of Earl Grey, the scratchy sounds of my Rod Stewart album playing softly in the background.

I woke this morning smiling because I was proud of myself and excited to start again. As much as I miss sex and especially romance… the act of making love and the satisfaction of resting in his arms after hours of desire and need… okay I lost my train of thought…

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Only joking! Honestly though, as much as I miss being with someone I truly adore, I don’t want to rush the process. If I can keep writing like this, I could finish this novel in less than two months. Dates with these random guys are usually just a waste of time. I get free dinners, mediocre conversation and half-hearted good night kisses. That’s time I could have spent writing and accomplishing, I dunno, my goal in life.

I think this thing with Mr. Robinson really got to me because it’s been so long since I’ve made love to a man. Unlike any of the dates I’ve been on, I’d already made a place for him in my heart & all I could think about were the many things I’d let that man do to me when we made it back to his hotel room. There were so many moments in our past where he’d corner me and whisper these hot things in my ear. Something about a fireplace and I don’t quite remember, but I do remember thinking he was the kind of guy who, if I let him, would pick me up and press me against a wall… I cannot let my hormones dictate my feelings. I don’t really know Mr. Robinson anymore so if this fizzles and dies, it’s seriously no big deal. I’ve got to remember this.

 

As for now, I have a novel to write, a daughter to raise and did I mention I have a night job? I’ve got plenty to keep me busy while I wait for my Paul Flanner (that’s a Rodanthe reference, so get hip;P).

 

 

 

Mr. Robinson

So the novel is coming along and on that front at least, life is good.

On the other hand, I am in trouble. I recently reached out to an old boss of mine. We had a chemistry I’d never forgotten and I was hoping, if he was single, we would go on a date. As it turned out, he doesn’t live close by anymore. We had been texting all night and eventually he even made plans to come see me on Saturday night. We were going to have champagne and spend the evening together.

He stood me up without even texting to say he wasn’t coming. The next morning he called with a good excuse for everything, but I was so hurt. I haven’t liked someone the way I like him since the ex I’m writing a novel about. While I’ve certainly been taken with someone based on their looks or common interests, there has always been something missing in those connections. My guy, lets call him Mr. Robinson, because he’s a bit older, has everything. He’s kind of scary, in a way that demands perfection, but he treats me like I’m his weakness. He’s kind and funny. He’s playful and handsome. He’s also very passionate and has the perfect voice. I LOVE his voice. When I worked for him, he’d whisper things in my ear and it drove me crazy. I was in love with someone else at the time, but I had a special (VERY secret) place for him in my heart.

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I knew I was in big trouble the second he said he wasn’t coming on Saturday. I was all dressed up in my little black dress, when my heart plunged into my stomach and my smile vanished. I didn’t know what to do and I felt so numb. I decided I didn’t want to be alone so I went out with a girlfriend, but the second I was surrounded by people I didn’t want to be there either. A few men bought me drinks, but I spent the whole time comparing them to my guy. I’ll get over it fairly quickly, if I have to, but I honestly hope I don’t have to. Maybe I’m over-analyzing the situation and he’s really just busy. He really did get a random bout of food poisoning and he’s not secretly married…

So anyway, I’ve been a little down these past two days and it’s been surreal. I’m thinking of a new novel though! While I may not wind up dating this guy, he is an excellent character for a novel about an affair. The beast to be tamed kind of guy.

I need to finish my first one first though. At least I know I ran into him for a reason. If not because he’s meant to be mine, than at least to inspire new stories.

 

Feeling The Flow

I don’t have much time tonight, but I did want to get this quick tip out there. Lately, I’ve been meditating to focus on my book: the characters, the dialogue, the setting. It’s been incredible. Each session at the keyboard produces a minimum of three pages and I find myself immersed in my story throughout the day.

I found a few meditations for writers on youtube, but this one is my favorite so far:

Meeting Your Muse

It’s been helpful! Anyway, I must run. Duty calls, but when I come back I have so much to share.

-J.

Monday Motivation

“It is perfectly fine to write garbage-

as long as you edit brilliantly.”

-C.J. Cherryh

This Weeks Goals

  1. Take Alexis, my daughter, on an adventure. Wander into DC and walk around exploring or dance classes. Something, but it has to be a whole just for her.
  2. Record my first Vlog. I’ve decided to do a vlog instead of a podcast. After 50 takes listening to my own voice, I decided I couldn’t take it. At least with a vlog it’s a bit less editing.
  3. Write a minimum of 7 pages, but shoot for 15!
  4. Earn a minimum of $800 in tips this week (always strive for more!).
  5. Burn a minimum of 1200 calories & use higher weights on the machines.

So last week I wasn’t the best at accomplishing any of my goals. They all changed on me at some point. I decided I didn’t need an outline or character bios for my novel. I would just start writing the thing and let the characters guide me in the right direction. That worked much better for me. Also, my characters don’t need bios because as you know, they exist in real life.

I decided against the podcast because I wasn’t a fan of my own voice. Somehow video is less intimidating because there’s no need to really edit yet. It can start as a Q & A themed coffee talk and grow into something bigger when I start traveling. I can take my time learning to edit and everything. Ps. I’m traveling in just 9 days!! I can’t wait to see the west coast for the first time!!

I didn’t lose any weight, I don’t think, but my body looks different and I don’t think losing is the issue. I think it’s just toning, so to that effect I did fine. I burned a lot of calories and did a lot of strength exercises. I’m calling it a win.

This was the best writing weekend so far! I have been in the moment, feeling the flow and producing the words. My best friend has been having 20 minute (or more) brainstorming sessions with me and I’ve even entrusted her to edit some of my drafts. It’s all starting to feel so real. I’m a writer that writes! Crazy, right? HA!

It has been so difficult writing out my story and my friend even asked, if I thought it was healthy to do so.

“What’s the point?” she asked.

The point is those feelings inside me are there anyway. The love, the gratitude and the forgiveness. I’ll always miss him and love him on some level, not to write about it is a waste. What we had was incredible and it deserves a place on my bookshelf and yours too. It can be sad and difficult at moments, but once I shut the laptop, I never lose sight of the reality of today.

I’m still happy, still excited about the future and still writing;)

 

Saturday Summary

This week flew by so quickly! My job is going well, although sometimes the hours get to me. My circadian rhythm is a bit off and I get tired around 2 in the afternoon even on days I’m not working. Adding up tips, I made a total of $682 this week. I made $411 just on Monday, which says a lot about Tuesday through Thursday, but the weekly sum is good and that’s what matters to me.

As far as the gym, I’ve been 4 times and I’m up to 3 miles a day. I’m increasing the weights on some of the arm and leg machines too!  Alexis has had a few play dates with kids at the pool and she’s also really into baking cookies this week.

Okay, so onto my writing. I finished fourteen pages, all focusing on the past. I want to write more of the novel, the present fiction, but it’s been so difficult to write Basil as a man today. I’m a totally different person than I was 5 years ago. I can’t even begin to imagine what he’s like today. It would be easier if I didn’t know he were a real person because then I could imagine him into the man I want him to be. I think I’ll get there though. Once I find that perfect flow that I know all of my writer friends out there understand.

As long as I get my podcast finished by tomorrow, I’ll have accomplished this weeks Weekly Goals<3

Memory Lane & The Not-So-Subtle-Art of Autobiographical Fiction

So my novel is a thinly disguised piece of non-fiction, set in a fictional present. I know that doesn’t necessarily make sense so let me break it down.

I want closure for myself. The love of my life left me in 2013 and I’ve since been trying to capture the story on paper. It was a fucking whirlwind romance novel all on its own. I mean he flew me to London three times. Spur of the moment! He came to me three times (coincidentally). We took a road trip up the east coast to visit my childhood home & camped in front of a waterfall. We had incredible sex, made a 30 minute sex tape, had sex in public places and oh my God the sex!

Anyway, a novelist usually produces shit their first time around and this is the romantic garbage I want to spew out my first time completing a novel. I want to have a written piece of art that represents the most exciting, loving time in my life.

As I write, I use my journals for reference. The story is of us reconnecting on a Dominican resort, shocking, considering I’ve just been to the DR. He’s there on a bachelor party vacation week and I’m there at a writer’s conference. The present is all fiction. It’s what I perceive might happen if we reunited. We’d love each other, we’d maybe even make love, but the end would be the same. We were a tragedy not a romance. There are going to be a few journal entries, receipts and email exchanges that are all non-fictional (no photos) and that’s where I get to tell my truth.

It’s so hard going through it all again. In one entry, I wrote the following (Keep in mind there’s a time difference between us; he’s in Dubai and I’m in DC. Also I’m not editing any of my entry so enjoy all of my 22 year old, like, slang):

“Sometimes I feel like maybe he’s like…the one or something. Just writing it down feels so embarrassing because obviously… But it’s so hard to believe there’s not something so special about whatever this is. Tonight he said the worst part about hanging up was that I would be going to sleep and he’d spend his day knowing he could be in bed with me, making him even lonelier. That is exactly how I feel when I’m at work and I say goodnight to him before my shift. Somehow, he seems to match every feeling I have, only he puts into words better than I ever could. I feel so much like I’m in love, I wanna say it. It isn’t right to do that, I mean, make such a huge proclamation via Skype. But he makes me so happy, I miss him so much and it’s hard to contain those feelings sometimes. I’m just scared. I’m so terrified that all of this may be genuine, but one day he’ll wake up and feel differently about me. Danielle [my friend] got to me, just a little, when I told her about him, but I believe in Basil. He says not to worry about what others think and just to focus on the time. Two more weeks and he’ll be living with me for the summer. We’ll know exactly what this is and I can stop second guessing. I need to sleep, it’s 3 am and I want the days to pass quickly.

-J. ”

It is so hard sometimes. I hate reliving my past joy because a part of me still misses him so much that if I wanted to, if I had the time, I might curl into a ball, in his Led Zeplin tee and cry. I would smoke our favorite cigarette, drink red wine and cry thinking about the way he would take off my earrings before we fell asleep at night. The way he looked at me with love and left a hand on my knee anytime we went anywhere.

I’ve reached a point in my story where I don’t know what he’d say anymore. If the story is set in our present, 5 years after our past, I don’t know what he would say as the new man he must be now. Reading the journals helps a little, but sometimes they hurt a lot.

Do any of you keep a journal? It’s a blessing and a curse, no?

 

Monday Motivation

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”

-Louis L’Amour

Today has been a great Monday. I am currently experimenting with a Weekly Goals list as well as a daily To-Do list to help me achieve those 5 goals.

This Weeks Goals

  1. Record my first episode of The Mission For Mom Podcast.
  2. Create character bios for my three lead novel characters.
  3. Daily blog posts (xoxo).
  4. Finish the novels outline.
  5. Lose 2-3 lbs from my tummy.

Today’s Accomplishments

  1. I ran for 3 miles and burned 411 calories on the treadmill.
  2. I can currently do about 3/4 of one chin up, multiple times throughout the day. HA!
  3. I did ab, arm and leg work-outs for an extra 30 minutes.
  4. I read a chapter of my current romance novel, The Light of Paris, by Eleanor Brown. I wasn’t super into it, but I give ALMOST every novel a 5 chapter test unless it’s really bad. I’ll let you know if it’s worth it. It’s important that I read books in my genre to keep my writing style fresh and up to date!
  5. I took my daughter to the pool and also on an hour long play date with a neighbor.
  6. I took a two hour nap in preparation for my night shift. 8 pm to 3 am. Oy!

Overall today was great as far as my family and fitness goals were concerned. I started the morning ready to write and realized I had to use that time to backup my computer and free up some space for my audio programs. I’m really disappointed I didn’t get a chance to finish any of the book, but I think tomorrow I’ll block off at least 3 hours to it. 

On a very side note, I broke things off with the 24-year old. He was very sweet, but I don’t have time at all to date someone that isn’t spectacular. I barely have time to write my own To-Do Lists everyday. I can’t wait until I have the weekend to cuddle my girl and write late into the evening. This week I’m working Monday through Thursday. Then I get 3 days of vacation!

Tomorrow I will work on my book! I will spend QUALITY time with my girl!

I’ll let you know how that goes;)

 

A Mission For Mom: Podcast

I’ve decided to start a podcast that’s exclusively found here on this blog. I met a writer from the New York Times on Thursday night while I was working. He told me a great way to branch out is to literally put your voice out there. He suggested I start a weekly podcast to coincide with my blog and I am so for it!

Any suggestions?

 

Best-Worst Date Ever

***To recap, I gave my number to a hot guy from CVS. He texted me that afternoon, and I’d been super excited about our date, originally scheduled for today (Sunday). ***

We began texting so much that I couldn’t wait to see him and we decided to go on a date Friday instead. I was so excited that I dressed up in my cutest crop-top and pants that make me look slim with a modest heel (all black). I kept my hair big, curly and wild. I thought maybe I could convince him to go dancing.

He showed up in a band tee, jeans and tennis shoes. He was very attractive, but I knew within minutes that this would be our only date. Here were the deal-breakers:

  1. He doesn’t eat vegetables.
  2. He doesn’t drink (which may not have bothered me, but he was boring enough that I wanted to drink).
  3. He doesn’t work-out, he only diets. No carbs, no VEGETABLES and no junk food. I make time for the gym every day and I want my next partner to be motivating.
  4. He doesn’t dance.
  5. He doesn’t do karaoke.
  6. He doesn’t read.
  7. He doesn’t believe in college.
  8. He doesn’t mind working at CVS forever.
  9. He doesn’t believe in any type of afterlife or God or spirituality.
  10. He lives with his parents.
  11. He has NEVER had a girlfriend.

Number ten was the biggest red flag. It doesn’t really bother me that he’s a virgin, but as someone newly single I don’t want to lead on someone who might be super ready for a relationship. I don’t know how, but I was literally his first date.  I discovered later, he used to be overweight and only recently lost the weight.

*To clarify, I am certainly dating with the intent of meeting the proverbial “right one,” but I want to go on several dates and meet many people before I decide who that person is. I’ve been in a relationship (the wrong one) for 8 years and I don’t want to make the same mistakes.  *

Anyway, I decided to continue the date so he didn’t have a bad first date experience. We drove to my favorite sports bar, split a calamari (his choice) and I had two gin and tonics. He was actually really fun to talk to, especially once I had my first drink. He was very attractive so if I let go of all the “red flags,” and focused on his beautiful eyes, I just wanted to kiss him.

We stayed until nearly 1:30 in the morning and when we got back to his car, I let him kiss me goodnight. It was actually a good kiss. He put his hands on my face and when it was over he put his forehead on mine. He asked if I wanted to do this again and I couldn’t help but say, “Yes.” He was so sweet and I really, genuinely wanted him to be happy.

It was a great first date, but I can’t do this again. If I were younger and we had time to grow together, it’d be another story. I’m a mother and I need a man in my life. I’m already raising a beautiful young girl, I don’t have the time to help raise that beautiful young man. I’m working, I’m writing, I’m teaching, I’m loving and I’m not getting enough sleep. If I find someone, I want to find a rock. I need a man that knows his place in the world and respects my goals and dreams and pushes me to reach them.

So I’m going to call him and explain my position gently.

“I like you and if I were younger or didn’t have a daughter I would really want to try and make this work. I just don’t want to start a new relationship so soon and it’s not fair to you that I’d like to date a few people before deciding to settle down.”

Maybe this will make him feel less like it’s his fault and more like I need to explore first??

This was actually my first date as single mom. Nothing on my vacation counts because that was all in good fun, so to speak. For my first date, it was very nice. Dinner and kisses were a forgotten joy until then. Best-worst-date ever.

 

 

You’ll Never Know If You Don’t Ask

I went back to CVS (with my daughter) and I picked up some laundry detergent, which I had legitimately forgotten. I had already prepared my number on the back of the receipt he had given me earlier and my full name, just in case he wanted to Facebook me.

My heart was pounding as I tried to avoid eye contact and grabbed the bag of laundry tabs. I was so grateful that he took me at his register, but at this point all of my nerves were on edge and I was a mess. He rang me up and when he gave me my change, I took the slip and I was barely able to make eye contact as I handed him the slip of paper. With a goofy smile I said,

“This is for you. It’s just my number…if you wanna call.” He smiled and said thanks, with this super sexy glint in his eye. I can’t really describe it, but it’s like he was “turning on the charm,” or something.

Alexis was holding gum so I was like, “Come on baby, put it back. Mommy’s dying a little inside right now.” As I left with her hand in mine, I was smiling, nervously and still happily at the same time. I think he watched me leave, but I’ll never know.

I felt so good and so nervous after! I was excited and anxious.

He finally texted me, about 5 hours later and it turns out his name is Diego. Such a hot guy name, right? He said he thought what I did was “cute,” and he’s taking me to brunch on Sunday. I’m so excited, but truth be told, I’ve already kind of forgotten what he looks like. I know he made an impression on me, but the two times we met, the moment lasted less than 5 minutes… I think he looks a little bit like Nick from the Handmaid’s Tale.

Anyway, lesson learned today:

You’ll never know if you can have what you want, if you don’t ask. 

 

Making The First Move

I used to nanny for a living only a year ago. Since then I’ve been at home studying to finish my associates and spending time with my little one. Today, I was supposed to watch one of my old charges, a sweet 2-year-old cutie, for just a few hours. I woke up to a text at 8:20 asking where I was and I realized I was supposed to be in Arlington by 8 am!

I put on a pair of shorts, a t-shirt and flip-flops. Alexis was already dressed, thank goodness! We ran to the car and arrived at our destination at about 9 AM. I looked ragged.

Alexis still needed a lunch and I’d skipped packing one so I walked the girls (in an over sized double stroller) to the CVS just a block or two away. I also needed false lashes for my night job and a new eyeliner. When I got to the register, I bumped into the counter and apologized, but when I looked up this gorgeous man was smiling at me. Laughing on the inside, I’m sure. Not necessarily in a bad way though- I hope.

I set down my items and immediately regretted choosing his register. This guy was so handsome and he could see my fake lashes on the counter. I was so quick to say, “I’m going on vacation soon.. there’s going to be a lot of dinners there…” Eww I’m so awkward!!!

He responded with a smile and asked where I was going, to which I lied, “The Dominican Republic.”

“Fancy,” he smiled again. Uuuugh…his smile made me weak in the knees. I asked him this stupid question,

“Can I ask you a question,” and he said yes. “How old are you?”

He asked me to guess so I said maybe 22 and he said I was 2 years off. I was kind of disappointed because I thought that meant he was 20, but no, he’s 24! I felt like we were kind of flirting. I’m not positive. A few hours have passed and my memory is already fuzzy.

I’m going back in today, in 20 minutes to buy some laundry detergent which I genuinely did forget. WHAT DO I SAY? This isn’t even my CVS; I’m 30 minutes away in another city so worst case scenario is that he says he can’t give me his number and I NEVER go back again. HA! Seriously though…NEVER.

On “Gainful” Employment

My daughter’s father, my best friend, and I have been separated for about a month now. We’ve been together since 2008, with a two year gap in between that I might write about later. We’ve finally thrown in the towel on us, for the sake of our daughter. Neither of us want her to believe that arguing is a healthy form of communication. We’re just different and we want different things.

The plan was simple. I’d find a job, preferably at night, and we’d continue to live together until I found a place. Neither of us are allowed to date openly until then. Unfortunately, it’s been so difficult to find a job that allows me to come in at 5 pm.

I finally found a job tending bar in a trendy city lounge. The hours are 8 pm to 3 am. I don’t arrive home until nearly four and then I need to shower before bed because I’m sweaty and disgusting. By 9 am I have to wake up, love on my kid and keep her active: parks, pools, workbooks- anything to keep her mind stimulated.

This leaves me either as soon as I wake up or just before work to keep writing. The trouble is, I’m a Midnight Writer. I produce my best ideas and most fluid dialogue over a glass of red, in a quiet apartment at midnight.

I’ve been offered a position at a smaller, calmer restaurant and the hours are 5 pm to 10 pm. It’s a French bistro and it means I get to practice my language skills. It’s also jazzy and so much more my scene.

Do I take a lower paying job and improve my quality of life (more sleep, more opportunity to write, and better work place)? Or do I keep the four day a week, wild-child job where I make more money? More money means I get to move into my own apartment with Baby Girl sooner rather than later.

I feel like the answer is obvious, but I want to hear what you think. What would you do if you wore my shoes?

Writing Is SO Hard!

While I am determined to finish my novel this year, as in 2017, I am finding it so difficult to get my affairs in order here. I am what they call, a Midnight Writer. I produce my best ideas at night, because the house is quiet, my daughter is asleep and all of my chores are finished.

I am a little overwhelmed with where to start at the moment. I’ve got 8 pages of a 350-ish page novel finished. It’s not polished, but it’s written. I also have to vamp up my social media presence. I had no idea it was so important. Before this year, I thought it was all just vanity. Silly me.

So now I am constantly torn between the maintenance of this new blog and the production of pages for my book.

I just wish that words flowed as fast as my ideas. I basically have my whole novel written in my mind. I know almost everything that will happen from beginning to end, but the trouble is finding the words to describe the scenery and the emotion behind the characters situation. I think it’s mostly a fear that my descriptions will suck. They’re supposed to though! It’s my first novel. Which leads me to my next issue.

The biggest hurtle for me is the fact that my novel revolves around my ex. I know that sounds silly and disgusting even, but if ever a whirlwind romance there was, that was it for me. He lived in Europe, flew me to London on my first ever trip out of the country and made love to me like no man has since. I’m not in love with him anymore, but he was my first real adventure. He opened up worlds to me that might still be closed without him. He’s also very easy to fall in love with, making him a great leading man in my book. It’s been a bit extremely difficult to go through my old journals and recapture moments of sheer joy I thought I’d since forgotten. I don’t love him in that way anymore, but I’ll never forget how much I did. I’ll never forget and that’s why this has to be my first novel. The first is supposed to suck and it’s also supposed to be the story you NEED to tell.

I will prevail. It takes 14 days to form a habit, or so they say, and I’m only day 4. The words will eventually flow. This blog will eventually come together. Before I know it, I’ll be previewing my first few chapters here and God willing, you’ll love them.

-Jen